Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity
The ABA's anti-corruption program provided commentary and analysis to a variety of non-governmental and governmental organizations involved in combating corruption and joined with local partners to sponsor a series of public hearings on key corruption-related topics such as procurement law reform, magistrate's immunity and the highly debated Ombudsman draft laws. The hearings facilitated a national policy dialogue on these issues. The ABA also provided an advocacy grant and faculty support to the nongovernmental organization Access to Information to conduct a series of training programs for hundreds of municipal officials and attorneys across Bulgaria on implementing the country's Access to Information Act.
After Bulgaria adopted its 2001 Measures Against Money Laundering Act – a legislative framework that established reporting requirements and a financial intelligence unit to receive and analyze them – there was little understanding and a great deal of mistrust among the institutions that needed to collaborate to make the legislation effective. In response, the ABA brought together central bankers, officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit, prosecutors, financial police and commercial banks through a series of seminars in 2001. By the end of the series, bankers were talking constructively with the Financial Intelligence Unit, which in turn was more attuned to the investigative needs of prosecutors. The commercial banking association and the Financial Intelligence Unit signed a memorandum of understanding, and participants developed a consensus list of further legislative reform needed. The U.S. Treasury Department built upon this success with continued work in Bulgaria in 2002.
The ABA has sought to promote legal ethics and legal ethics enforcement through a public awareness campaign to eliminate corruption and uphold citizens' trust in the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. The ABA has also trained more than 500 police at a series of 15 ethics trainings across Bulgaria.
The ABA designed and presented a series of ethics lectures at the Economic University and the New Bulgarian University on the theory of ethics, Bulgaria views on ethics violations, practical applications of ethics theories and disciplinary systems were presented. The New Bulgarian University will include legal ethics in its clinical legal education program, and the Economics University will include ethics as an elective in its coursework.