The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) has decided that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has finally won the conflict of interest case against Stoicho Katsarov in his capacity as acting Minister of Health. The Supreme Administrative Court overturned the decision of the first-instance Administrative Court – Sofia city (ASC) and confirmed the decision of the commission, reported the KPK.
The magistrates ruled that, as a minister, Stoicho Katsarov approved a document in the interest of a non-profit association related to him. The draft of the Ordinance to amend and supplement Ordinance No. 1 of 2014 on the approved medical standard “Clinical Laboratory” signed by Minister Katsarov took place on 18.05.2021, i.e. while his release as chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Association “Center for the Protection of Rights in Health Care” was not yet entered in the register, but at the same time he held and performed the position of minister, the court decision states.
Katsarov was a member and chairman of the board of the association from its creation until 10.06.2021, the date on which he was removed in connection with his appointment as an official minister, and after his release from the government he rejoined the board. I.e. there is a permanent relationship between the mentioned entities, necessitating their definition as related parties, the decision of the Supreme Court states.
“In its practice, the Supreme Administrative Court has repeatedly indicated that for the act to be proportionate… it is sufficient for there to be a formal violation of the imperative legal provision, leading to the emergence of doubt in the manner in which the relevant public positions are carried out… The aim is to prevent doubts, that the persons occupying high public positions exercise their powers on the basis of personal and family relations, and not on the basis of legally established criteria”, the magistrates emphasize.
Katsarov was sentenced to pay a fine of BGN 5,000, to recover his daily remuneration for the day in which he was in conflict of interest by signing the draft Ordinance and to pay the Commission’s costs in the case.