Банкеръ Weekly



Ms. Doncheva, the motto of your campaign is I Stop Corruption. How exactly are you planning to achieve that?
- They've been asking me the same question every day for the last two weeks. First I thought that I should give examples, but it turns out that answering the question this way is not satisfactory. I see such examples in the meetings I have every day. I read the Access reports and the revisions of the municipality's major concessions, so here is what I can say. First of all, a system has been created for fishing in troubled waters. There is no property register, no enclosure of either the statute of each municipal estate or the deals it has been subject to. There is neither enclosure of the acts established for that purpose nor of the accompanying assessments or other documents that should be an element of the deal. The same is happening with the concessions. A revision should be carried out, yet we should not act as a court, a prosecutor, or a Hague tribunal.
The second problem refers to the publicity of what is being done. It turned out that the work of municipal officers is organized in a way that allows them to keep their deeds in secret from the citizens for a long period of time. Only when somebody's interests are injured do people become curious.
The third aspect refers to the municipal activity related to contracts, tenders, competitions and so on. These are things that should be announced timely and clearly. I heard people saying that key contract offers have been formulated in a way that made them clear only to the right person while the rest who wanted to participate had failed either to receive adequate consultation or understand the assignment. There is also a small question concerning the organisation of the session activities which is quite important. When you have tens of issues on the agenda and two or three key questions, it is much easier in the confusion to give the desired answer to these questions than it would be if there were only few issues. The next step is to improve the organisation of the competition which will interrupt the system of underhand dealings. This is a technology but it is important in order to make it clear to the participants that the better one will be the winner. The method of writing the contracts and guarantees for proper implementation are important, too.
Therefore, are the contracts with the garbage collecting companies Ditz and Wolf concession ones indeed, and has their operation over the last seven years been really worth BGN400MN?
- The contracts for the water are problematic, too... It turned out that the interim commission, appointed after the Access report, confirmed the conclusions of the monitoring. But the municipal councillors faced insuperable obstacles when they tried to obtain the documents of the company. It's the same with the water concession - the inspections of the Audit Office failed to find out original contracts. I suspect that the documentary part of the deals will appear a very serious problem but also an additional obstacle for their reconsideration. My second suspicion refers to the contracted prices which are several times higher than the real price of the service. It also turned out that the reports on the implementation of the concession had been entrusted to the concessionaires themselves! The reconsideration of the concessions recommended by the commissions does not lead to better conditions. I intentionally avoid speaking about reconsideration of the contracts before I have seen all respective materials because I know it from experience that when there is such obscurity about the documents, the other side usually shows documents that you do not possess but you have no excuse for that.
I wish we can give a chance for reconsideration of the concession contracts and for a possible new settlement thanks to new zoning and transfer of garbage collection to the regional mayors in larger regions. If the present concessionaires have sufficient experience and equipment, they could take part, too. But only if there is a Concessions Act, as well as regulation that decides whether or not this type of activity is subject to concession.
Do you intend to find out why the former blue mayors Alexander Yanchulev and Stefan Sofianski have destroyed the pedestrian zones in Sofia and what they have received in return?
- My experience in politics has taught me that I should put things in order from this moment and should collect evidence for the past not in order to blame. There are things in the past that obviously indicate corruption practices, but there are also bad decisions that are caused by other reasons.
If you become Sofia's mayor, are you going to revise the privatisation deals for municipal estates signed by Antoan Nikolov and Evgenii Bakurdzhiev when they presided the municipal council and the Privatisation Agency?
- There are things that are possible and others that are impossible. There are things that are statute-barred. There are sites that have been acquired by third scrupulous people through new deals, or companies that have merged with other companies. This kind of approach - to sink in tens of thousands contracts, is simply unproductive. The things that really obstruct future activities will be subject to revision.
Do you see a legal chance for the municipality to regain control over Municipal Bank, which it lost when private companies were given more than 25% of its equity capital?
- Since municipal companies transferred their shares and the municipal leaders say they knew nothing... The municipality has legal chances to regain control over Municipal Bank, as well as any other holder of a large number of shares of a financial institution of the kind. We'll try to use all possibilities, negotiations or other levers included. If we fail, we are going to reconsider our participation. But I'm aware of the fact that if we sell the shares this way and get free from the property immediately, we shall simply depreciate it - it means we will give Municipal Bank as a present to its biggest shareholders. I don't like such an alternative.
Will the managers of municipal companies who sold their stakes in the private companies be held responsible?
- There are civil cases going on right now for litigating the transactions. I cannot say whether or not they will be successful as I have not attended the trials.
What role do you think has Mr. Lyubomir Pavlov played in the deals with Municipal Bank shares?
- An important one... being an element of the triad (Stefan Sofianski, Antoan Nikolov and Lyubomir Pavlov himself).
You said that the right-wing project for Sofia resulted in total restitution and merciless construction everywhere. What is the leftist project then?
- I don't think that restitution of this kind would be held in a capital city about which people care and think in perspective. Neither would estates and patches be given out in that manner. This led to a situation in which the one who has strength and resources does what he likes at the expense of the others. I don't think people with right political outlook would like to live in a concrete ghetto without green parks, clean air and cosiness. They also realise that the fanatic implementation of an idea (everyone to govern himself) to the detriment of all building rules is not a good idea.
Do you know how many restitutional cases have been initiated against the Metropolitan Municipality and what can be done about this problem?
- I have no idea about the number of restitutional cases, but I'm disturbed by the fact that they continue, that there are a lot of them, and the municipality regularly fails to appear in court. This makes me think about a lot of things, the most harmless of which are the unconcern and the neglect towards the administration of the city.

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