The risk of Bulgaria losing EUR 1.6 B in EU funding for agriculture has increased substantially due to the failure of the Agriculture Ministry to select an auditing authority for the payments made in the period October 16, 2013 – October 15, 2014.
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The procedure for signing a direct contract with an auditor was stopped due to a complaint to the Commission for Protection of Competition, according to reports of Trud daily.
The audit includes direct subsidies per agricultural land and payments under projects under the Rural Areas Development program.
Unless the report under it is submitted with the European Commission by March 31, 2015, the payments will not be recognized.
The complaint at the competition watchdog was submitted by audit company Grant Thornton OOD on October 24.
The company objected that it had not been invited to the procedure for selecting an audit authority with which to sign a directly-awarded contract.
The Agriculture Ministry invited Deloitte Bulgaria, KPMG Bulgaria, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Audit and Ernst & Young Audit to take part in the procedure, stressing that these were the four biggest audit firms in the EU.
The contract was to be awarded to the lowest price below the threshold of BGN 1.2 M, VAT excluded.
The failed procedure was the fifth unsuccessful attempt of Bulgaria’s Agriculture Ministry to select an auditor in over a year.
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