A little more than a month after receiving a bouquet of flowers and wishes for success from his predecessor Radostin Vasilev, the acting Minister of Sports Vesela Lecheva talked about abuses for millions in sports. The basis of her accusations was a contract concluded by “National Sports Base” for the purchase of software for BGN 1.7 million.
According to Lecheva and her appointed management of the company managing the largest state sports properties, the contract signed the day before the change of power is completely unnecessary. However, the former managers of NSB believe that it is even late, as the company needs digitization to solve problems and stop a process of hard-to-trace abuses.
“This is an extremely expensive product, which will be a burden on the company not only now, but also in the coming years. As the principal of the National Sports Base, I will take action to protect the state’s interest,” Lecheva said in a press release on Tuesday to the media.
A few days before that, Vassilev said on the “EuroDikof” program that Lecheva exceeded her authority by directly interfering in the work of the NSB. He even pointed out that the acting minister returned “people of the former head of the NSB Plamen Manolov”, with the aim being to protect other interests. The former minister stated (in the video after 1.32 hours) that already in her first days in office, Lecheva inquired about the condition of restaurant “101” in “Dianabad”, associated with Alexander Staliyski. For Vasilev, this was a clear sign whose interests the acting minister would protect.
From analog to digital control
For the first time, Lecheva opened the topic of the unnecessary contract, in her opinion, on September 7 in BNT. She then indicated that she had been “I was extremely surprised when I found out that NSB had a need for such a product“.
“Dnevnik” sought details about the product, its benefits and the procedure for its provision, but did not receive specific answers. The current management of NSB points out that no competition or other procedure was held.
“On the website of NSB EAD, there is also no information published regarding the conduct of such a procedure. At the moment, NSB EAD has not found the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors, both for the procedure for concluding these contracts, and for the entire period of management of the executive director Ventsislav Petkov, but only separate transcripts-excerpts. The secretary-minute taker of the Board of Directors and holding the position of chairman of the Board of Directors at that time Vladislav Bozhikov did not ensure the transmission of the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors of NSB EAD to the management of the company appointed by Minister Vesela Lecheva,” say the current management.
According to the reported information BGN 1,087,057 have been paid so far. “The payment of these amounts was made on August 4, 2022 in a bank branch with hand-filled payment orders, contrary to the established practice of the company for online payments. The amount seriously exceeds the amount of one-time payments under contracts concluded by the company in recent years” , say the NSB.
Bozhikov told “Dnevnik” that “the payment passed all levels of preliminary and subsequent control according to the rules for financial management and control”. And he added that there are practically no internal rules in the company.
“How can you violate something that does not exist? In the period 2014 – 2015, the company was subject to an audit by the Audit Chamber, which, by the way, was the only audit that was carried out there. As a result of the audit, there were recommendations to prepare of comprehensive business rules – i.e. can you imagine that this company has operated without them up to this point. In 2015 some sort of rules-like document was drawn up which has never been updated, changed, revoked or whatever since then it was,” says Bozhikov.
He also claims that he tried to leave the records with the company’s deputy executive director, who was absent and there was no way to get a handover record. And he added that he is ready to hand them over at a time and place convenient for the new leadership.
Who is standing opposite?
Both sides do not indicate the company with which the contract was concluded. “The name of the company and the specific terms of the contract are related to the confidentiality of the counterparty’s relations with NSB EAD, and their public disclosure could lead to additional financial damages for the company,” the new management stated.
Bozhikov said that the negotiations were lengthy and “not one or two companies” participated in them. “As a result of the strong competitive environment we created among the participants, we managed to reduce the initially announced price by about 40%. All decisions were made by the company’s management, with a view to legality and expediency”.
He disagrees with Lecheva’s claim that the software is unnecessary. According to his words, the introduction of the integrated system helps to manage and optimize costs, document management, corporate fixed assets, accounting and financial management, as well as facility maintenance management.
Bozhikov says that one of the big problems that have been welded has to do with uncollected receivables for over BGN 3 million.
“On the second week, after we entered the company, we requested from each unit detailed information about the available and managed properties that are under their management, namely – object type, its number, square footage, existence of contractual relations, tenant, date and contract number, rental price, term, assessment and tender procedure. And here everything has already begun to be seen – a significant number of department heads went on sick leave, which, by the way, lasted until our removal,” he pointed out.
And added that through the analog present of the NSB, abuses are concealed. “The longer the company is managed in an “analog” way, the more abuses on the part of its management.”
However, the current NSB management claims that “purchased commercial software is suitable for use by large companies with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and users, as well as for large-scale production”.