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Health Minister Nanev charged

31. March 2010. | 08:33

Source: BTA

Bulgarian Health Minister Bozhidar Nanev was charged Tuesday in connection with the conclusion of two unprofitable contracts.

Bulgarian Health Minister Bozhidar Nanev was charged Tuesday in connection with the conclusion of two unprofitable contracts.

Dr Nanev is the first member of the incumbent Cabinet of the GERB Party, which won the parliamentary elections in July 2009 and formed a minority government.

Prosecutor Margarita Nemska of the Sofia City Prosecution Office specified to journalists that Dr Nanev was charged with intentional conclusion of an unprofitable transaction representing a particularly grave case and inflicting damage of a particularly large amount (nearly 2.5 million leva). On conviction, he faces between one and ten years' imprisonment.

On December 16, 2009, the Health Ministry contracted Roche Bulgaria EOOD to supply 200,000 units the anti-viral drug Tamiflu for 6.5 million leva, a price which was by 2,454,319.20 leva higher than the price offered 20 days earlier by the UK National Health Service through the British Embassy in Sofia. The drug was ordered for treatment of the swine flu epidemic but the procurement was announced after the declared end of the epidemic. The Tamiflu arrived in late January 2010 and is now stored by the Ministry.

Nemska said that the investigation was initiated five or six months ago on materials provided by the State Agency for National Security (SANS) and after an alert from pharmaceutical companies. Prosecutor General Boris Velchev confirmed to BTA that the investigation was conducted by the SANS. He added that on Monday, when it was decided to charge Dr Nanev, he personally informed the Prime Minister of this decision, and Borissov assured Velchev that whoever violates the law must face the consequences.

In a matter of hours, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is expected to demand Dr Nanev's resignation, "Dnevnik" learnt from sources in GERB.

The online version of the "Dnevnik" daily quoted Nemska as saying that Dr Nanev has been released on 2,000 leva bail and that she will motion the Sofia City Court to suspend him from office. In her words, there is no evidence so far that Dr Nanev derived a personal benefit from the transactions. He did not provide explanations on the case to the investigators.

A couple of months ago, Dr Nanev was implicated in another scandal: together with National Assembly Deputy Chairman and Health Committee Chairman Luchezar Ivanov and Executive Agency for Transplantation Executive Director Teodora Djaleva, he travelled to the US at the expense of the Americans of Bulgarian Descent Federation and the Euro Atlantic Transplant Alliance, founded by Roman Hitchev.

Hitchev, however, is concurrently Director of the Osteotech tissue bank, whose subsidiary Osteocenter Bulgaria works with 13 state-owned hospitals which are under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry. Shortly after that scandal erupted, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said he has ordered the SANS to check the case about a conflict of interest.

After a career in pediatric and thoracic surgery in Varna (on the Black Sea) since 1992, Dr Bozhidar Nanev, 47, was president of the Bulgarian Medical Association from January 11, 2009 until July 27, 2009, when he became minister of health.


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