Monday, October 19, 2015

Ex-military judges on trial in Bulgaria

Veselin Pengezov
Bulgaria continues its prosecution of officials who were previously involved in the administration of military justice. Sofia News Agency reports:
The Sofia City Court on Monday is expected to launch the trial against former Sofia Appellate Court chair Veselin Pengezov and other ex-officials over their alleged involvement in a EU funds fraud. 
Last spring, while still in office, Pengezov was initially charged with four counts of embezzlement, over irregularities in EU-funded projects which prosecutors allege are tantamount to a fraudulent scheme. 
A month later charges were also brought against Maria Divizieva, at that time Chief of Staff of Bulgarian PM (2013-2014) Plamen Oresharski, who allegedly facilitated the presentation of false statements in a report under the same operatinal program. 
In April of this year, the Sofia District Military Appellate Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges against Pengezov (head of the Sofia Military Appellate Court at the time of the scheme) and Divizieva, who was then head of the Finance Ministry Directorate in charge of the operational program Administrative Capacity. 
Others charged included the former Chair of the Sofia Military Appellate Court Petko Petkov (at the time deputy to Pengezov), the former Deputy Chair of the Military Appellate Court Vladimir Dimitrov, and several other officials including Atina Mavridis, Petya Gergova, Lyudmil Simeonov, and Krum Simeonov
Prosecutors' actions in that case were related to the selection of contractors for public procurement launched under Operational Program Administrative Capacity - the one under which the scam is thought to have operated.
Query: why was a military prosecutor, instead of a civilian official, handling the earlier cases? 

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