{"title": "Over 2 Billion Given For Bribes in One Year","content": "
According to a corruption assessment report prepared by the Center for the Study of Democracy and announced at the Annual Anticorruption Policy Forum, 2 billion levs (1euro = 1.95lev) have been given for bribes in Bulgaria in 2006. Bribery costs Bulgaria more money than the average amount of funds that our country receives from the EU. The state has suffered losses worth over 1 billion levs, because of corrupt public procurement tenders. Other 800 million levs have gone as 'facilitation fees' in deals with land and state property management. The report states that in the four months after Bulgaria's accession to the EU fewer corruption cases have been reported in public administration, but corruption in political life often remained unpunished.Recently, Transparency International has also come up with a report showing that state employees dealing with corruption-related issues feel demotivated because of political pressure. The survey shows that general public and business community in Bulgaria tend to believe that corruption among Bulgaria's government administration, parliament members and mayors is on the rise. Another worrying fact is that even when a lawsuit is launched most bribery cases remain uncovered and do not lead to a penal verdict. Most of the investigations are terminated at an early stage; more than 60 percent of them do not even reach courtroom. According to US Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. John Beyrle, the battle with the corruption in Bulgaria could be won only if the Bulgarian people express their will for that.