Bulgarian Customs Agency Head to Root Out Political Appointments

Politics » DOMESTIC | May 28, 2012, Monday // 12:23
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Customs Agency Head to Root Out Political Appointments Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov is on trial for public disclosure of classified information. Photo by BGNES

Political appointments at the Customs Agency are over, according to Customs Agency chief Vanyo Tanov.

In a Monday interview for the Bulgarian National Television he explained that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had made a personal commitment to take care of the matter.

Tanov argued that people enjoying political protections had long been appointed at the Kapitan Andreevo, Kulata and Kalotina border crossing points for the purpose of collecting money.

"These people still fail to grasp that this process is over, they are hoping that what is being said about the fight against corruption is different from what is being done," Tanov stated.

The Customs Agency Director announced that all employees of the institution would undergo tests within the next three days starting Monday.

Tanov specified that the tests would reveal the workers' competence and loyalty to their jobs.

He said that the officials who fail the test would not be fired at this stage but would have to go in a next round of structural reforms at the agency.

The Customs Agency head noted that a total of 47 people had been dismissed on corruption charges in 2011, adding that the procedure layoff procedure in such cases was very difficult because the customs authority had no capacity to investigate and prove criminal activity.

Tanov specified that many Customs Agency employees fired over corruption had had their jobs restored by the court.

He went on to day that the Customs Agency would undergo changes related to the launch of the new information system that would enable the Customs Agency and the National Revenue Agency (NRA) to keep track of excise goods all along the chain from producer to trader.

He explained that the system would be launched in stages by mid-2013, after which a part of the staff of the Customs Agency would be replaced by experts with other profiles.

Regarding the trial against Tanov for public disclosure of classified information, the Customs Agency head reiterated his claims that the proceedings had been requested by Lukoil Neftochim and the prosecuting authority was merely following orders.

The proceedings against Tanov were opened on a tip-off from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which said that Tanov had revealed the location of the country's wartime fuel stocks in an interview for the morning broadcast of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) on September 01, 2011.

The left-wingers alerted Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev that Tanov had said the following: "Speaking about the reserve, it must also be noted that Lukoil Nefochim and Lukoil Bulgaria are under obligation to maintain a certain volume of wartime stocks which is about 8 million liters".

"Lukoil just want to remove me from my position, because lifting my right to access to classified information in case of a trial for a premeditated crime will lead to my dismissal," Tanov commented in an interview in mid-May.

The Customs Agency head added Monday that his claims, which triggered a sharp response from Lukoil Bulgaria, could be confirmed by witnesses.

In the summer of 2011, the Bulgarian state and Lukoil entered into a skirmish, after the government temporarily revoked the licenses of the country's largest fuel producer for the company's failure to comply with statutory requirements for the installation of fuel measuring devices at its facilities.

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Tags: Customs Agency, Customs Agency head, Vanyo Tanov, Lukoil Neftochim, Lukoil Bulgaria, classified information, corruption, border crossing
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