Toma Belev started to take money under a program to the Council of Ministers. The name of the project is “Increasing citizen participation in Natura 2000 management and improving the management of the protected area network”, launched on 27.12.2018 and ending on 27.12.2020, and its implementation amount is 70 000 BGN.
According to the description, the program will develop at four levels – analysis, monitoring, introduction of good practices and information. In the framework of the project will be developed project analyzes of the ongoing processes since 2002 and the potential of legislation will be assessed in the future to ensure the involvement of the countries, and on the basis of the experience of other EU members will be prepared both proposals for changing the regulatory framework and a good practice guide that does not require changes in the laws.
Monitoring of the activities of the competent authorities and the court will be underway, which will form the basis for constant and rhythmic professional discussions with representatives of all stakeholders in order to improve and synchronize the participants’ perceptions and ideas. The project will also contribute to raising awareness of all Natura 2000 countries. Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev is responsible for the program.
Who is Toma Belev
Toma Belev is a forestry engineer, a native of Kardzhali. For 13 years he was the Director of the Vitosha Nature Park (from 1999 to 2012). For that time he managed to completely ruin the mountain near Sofia.
In his management several people lose their lives in Boyana Falls because there is no railing placed on the pretext that this is forbidden by the Management Plan of Vitosha NP.
The “ecologist” is responsible for the destruction of a large part of the spruce forests, for preservation of which the park was established in 1934. After the windblow in 2001 in Bistrishko Branishte dozens of decare of spruce forest have been destroyed. Toma Belev’s refusal to move the fallen trees despite the warnings of the BAS scientists leads to the spread of woodworm. Nowadays almost all of the spruce forests of Vitosha have been destroyed and the disease has gone to Rila.
The entire Vitosha infrastructure – roads, paths, chalets, tea houses, shelters, hotels, and lifts are ruined and continues to ruin. Because the Park Management Plan has been developed and adopted under the management of Toma Belev. It deliberately sets out total bans for new infrastructure. It is forbidden to build new ski runs and lifts. Existing ropeway tracks cannot be expanded i.e. there is no way to modernize the ropeways built in the 50s and 60s of the last century.
In 2003, Toma Belev as a civil servant – Director of Vitosha NP founded a non-governmental organization, which is a private parallel structure of the activities of the State Directorates of Nature Parks. It is called the Association of Parks in Bulgaria. APB is used by Belev to buy real estate and to participate in public procurement and to conduct lawsuits against investment projects.
While he was a civil servant as Head of Vitosha NP and Chairman of APB, Belev heads the Managing Board of another private NGO – “Green Balkans”. In 2007, Green Balkans received BGN 9 million to outline Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria. The project manager is Simeon Marin – son of the then Bulgarian Vice President Angel Marin.
As a result of their “expert” work over 34% of the country’s territory is introduced into Natura 2000 and is blocked for investments.
As the head of these private associations Belev is part of the team that drew up the Pirin Management Plan, which also bans the construction of ski runs and lifts in Bansko Ski Area. In addition to having done Natura 2000 sites, Belev is also one of the authors of the Bulgarka Nature Park plan, for which over 2 million leva have been paid. He also participates in orders for counting European ground squirrels and vulture growing for BGN 7 million, and rescue of red-breasted geese for over BGN 50 million and a number of other projects.
Besides the Director of Vitosha NP and head of APB and Green Balkans Belev is also a party activist. Candidate for a MEP in 2007 from the “Green Party” of Alexander Karakachanov, which is a coalition partner in the government of the triple coalition.
Toma Belev managed to get to key roles in the distribution of money to NGOs from the republican budget. Last year he and his wife, Vesselina Kavrakova, joined the working group, which had to create rules for the Council of Civil Society Development at the Council of Ministers. This unit will distribute the money to the civil sector according to rules written by Belev and his wife.
Who is Vesselina Kavrakova?
Toma Belev’s wife – Vesselina Kavrakova from 2006 heads the Swiss branch of the WWF in Bulgaria (World Wildlife Fund).
The WWF business project was launched on September 11, 1961 in the city of Morges, Switzerland. The place of registration was not chosen by accident – then and now this offshore area is the paradise of dirty money. The World Fund’s alibi is raising funds for ecology, climate change, and nature conservation but it’s actually a sophisticated business organization that partners with the world’s largest environmental pollutants. It is these corporations that give money to WWF, which in turn presents their work to the global public as environmentally friendly.
In 2016, the newspaper “Trud” wrote that WWF develops seriously its offshore business. The fund does not even hide and display on its site its subsidiary offices in offshore zones and a long line of customers registered in places called tax havens. WWF has offices in offshore destinations such as Panama, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guatemala, Mauritius, Seychelles and others.
There is almost no activity in most of them. In the same year, WWF announced three leading private partnerships, two of which are offshore registration corporations – Coca-Cola (Delaware), Domtar (Quebec) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (Liberia).
This Swiss NGO headed by Kavrakova in our country and in tandem with APB is the main complainant against dozens of investment projects in various fields – agriculture, tourism, industry.
And in 2012, shortly after being removed from the head office of Vitosha Nature Park, Toma Belev was awarded for WWF merit personally by the president of the organization Yolanda Kakabadze at a ceremony in Rotterdam. Perhaps because as a head of the park he worked for the World Fund and not for the mountain.
The consequences of the Belev-Kavrakova family’s activities and the “greens” surrounding them give a detrimental impact to the entire Bulgarian economy. The development of mountain regions is completely blocked as winter tourism cannot be developed because of restrictions imposed by “environmentalists” in the laws.
While modern winter resorts are being built in all of Europe and now in the Balkans (Serbia, Kosovo) in our country everything is stagnant.
Hardly Switzerland, which is the world’s top winter destination would allow a Bulgarian NGO to stop its development by appealing investment projects. Because this is what the WWF is doing here led by Vesselina Kavrakova – the development of the whole winter tourism in Bulgaria is sabotaged by foreign funding.
Katerina Rakovska, also part of the management of WWF’s Bulgarian branch, announced to BNR that over 100 million euros are available for biodiversity. This amount will be distributed among “green” organizations.
The group in question, headed by Belev and Kavrakova, won millions of European biodiversity projects. With money, they fund protests, political parties, and litigation. And as if these people run Bulgaria – there is no judicial power, there is no executive and legislative.
Even in social networks “environmentalists” are already boasting that the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court for Pirin was taken for “public pressure”, that is, because of their street protests. Thus, the “greens” led by the Belev-Kavrakova family condemn to poverty 1.5 million people in the mountainous regions. The question is when the state will take its role and will stop taking into account foreign interests.
The theft of the Association of Parks
In 2003, the Association “Association of Parks in Bulgaria” was established as non-governmental organization. This NGO is founded by eight Directorates of State Nature Parks in their capacity as legal entities. The Management Board of the Association consists of the Park Directorates, where they are represented by the respective directors. They elected Belev as chairman because at that moment he was the Director of Vitosha Nature Park but not as an individual.
Under the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act and the APB Statute, a General Assembly is held every 5 years, where a new Board of Directors and a Chairman are elected. Such a meeting was not held in 2008 as stated in the Act. This was not done in 2013. Meanwhile, in 2012 Belev was dismissed as Director of Vitosha NP after a competition. This automatically means that he is not entitled to represent the Association because until then he was Chairman in his capacity as Director of Vitosha NP.
Only in 2014, two years after he was no longer at the head of the Vitosha NP, Toma Belev organized a meeting of the General Assembly, by which he managed to replace the Statute. He introduced 15 individuals into the Management Board – all of them are his associates and the voting ratio in favor of Belev’ people is changed.
Through this change, without being the Director of a park, Belev remained the Chairman of the organization using the votes of his people. It was this General Assembly and its decisions appealed by the Vitosha NP Directorate were revoked by the judicial panels of Sofia City Court and Sofia Appellate Court. In December 2017 a final decision was taken by the Sofia Appellate Court that Belev took the post illegitimately. However, Toma Belev remains in this position and refuses to leave her.
The reason for this stubbornness is very simple – it is a lot of money. When Belev remained the third in the competition for the Director of Vitosha NP in 2012, the procedures for selecting the contractor of the project “Linking Nature Protection and Sustainable Rural Development” financed with CHF 4 790 000 (BGN 8 million) under the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program are held. The project is implemented within four years.
Apart from the Association of Parks in Bulgaria as partners from the Bulgarian side,the WWF – Danube-Carpathian Programme-Bulgaria headed by Veselina Kavrakova and Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Foundation were elected. The Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Foundation is headed by Petko Tzvetkov, who at that time is co-chair of the Green Party, Bulgarian Bird Protection Society. All of these are members of the Coalition “Let nature remain in Bulgaria”. Remaining at the head of the APB Toma Belev got access to the vast amount.
There is another very important reason Belev to fight teeth and nails for APB – a check of newspaper “Trud” in the Property Register showed that the association is a large owner of agricultural land. They are bought in the period up to 2011 and are property of the NGO according to the deeds. While the Directorates of the most Natural Parks were members of the organization it has acquired 320 decare across Bulgaria.
After the Directorates leave the APB one by one, the properties remain under the control of the head of the Management Board – Toma Belev. So, the “ecologist” now manages hundreds of decare of land not bought with money from his pocket.