Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Prosecution office is to investigate official bodies in charge of weapons exports as a follow-up to the October 1 deadly blast at a munitions processing plant in Gorni Lom in which 15 people died.
The huge blast at the Midzhur factory left 15 people dead, three injured and, given the devastation at the site, 38 people unemployed.
Prosecutors are to investigate the legality of the actions of the interministerial commission on export control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the cabinet office’s interagency council on the defence industry and security of supply.
The investigation will cover issues such as whether laws on weapons and munitions crossing borders were complied with.
The plant where the blast occured had a poor track record on safety issues and had been the site of two previous serious accidents before the October 1 2014 explosion.
At the time of the blast, workers were processing a large number of Greek anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines.
The investigation by prosecutors into the actions of the bodies in charge of weapons control will cover the period from 2008 to date. After collecting written information, prosecutors will carry out an on-site inspection at the offices of the control bodies.
Earlier, Bulgarian National Television reported that all 38 surviving employees at the Midzhur plant had been given redundancy notices.
The company that owns the plant has notified the labour bureau. The report quoted local officials as saying that after a one-month notice period, registration as unemployed will begin.
On top of the job losses in an area where work is scarce – a fact highlighted in reports alleging that employees put up with low pay and dangerous conditions for fear of unemployment – people in Gorni Lom face another serious problem.
The area where the blast happened is still cordoned off, making it impossible for residents of the nearby village to collect firewood for winter, the report said.