Distraint on dubious property can be appealed within 30 days
MRF: The Forfeiture Act will be used for repressing citizens and winning elections
- Автор: Lachezar Lisitsov
- Date: 3.5.2012
- Views: 266
- Photo: BGNES
A citizen whose property has been distrained by the future commission for forfeiture of illegally acquired assets may appeal the decision within a month, MPs voted at the second reading of the bill, which is being debated for more than a week now.
The commission will be entitled to investigate the suspect for a year and a half before imposing the distraint. Hristo Biserov, MP from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, classified this process as a secret on, because the investigated person will not be informed about it. Only after distraint is levied on his/her accounts and property, he/she will be notified of the procedure and may lodge a protest within 30 days and present evidence that the assets were acquired because the income received allowed it.
However, distraint may also be imposed on third parties who have been involved with the main “culprit”, warned Maya Manolova, MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party. She said that any citizen could become an innocent victim if, for example, he/she had purchased a flat from a construction developer with dubious incomes. If there are suspicions that the building has been financed with money from illegal activity, all those who have bought flats shall also face a risk of seizure of their property under the new law, according to Manolova. However, unlike the building developer, these people shall not even have the right to appeal the decision of the commission, which is paradoxical, argued the jurist from BSP.
“Under the new legal provisions, all people whose property has been distrained, including third parties, would be encouraged to write declarations, following a set pattern, in order to explain the sources of their incomes over the last 15 years. Even their relatives will have to do this,” explained Manolova.
According to Hristo Biserov, this means that any Bulgarian citizen may practically be subject to repression and racketeering by the people in power and this will be used for winning elections. According to the opposition, many of the provisions will eventually be suspended by the Constitutional Court.
The MPs from GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) replied that the accusations were groundless. According to Atanas Atanasov, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly, their opponents were using procedural tricks and repeating rejoinders to hamper the rapid adoption of the law.
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