Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry said that it has finished the petrol stations checks ordered by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov last week, shutting down fewer than one per cent of all fuel pumps that were examined by inspectors.
The ministry said that it finished the checks over the weekend and shut down 87 pumps for having damaged customs seals or showing discrepancies between the amount of fuel billed and the amount actually pumped, out of a total 10 862 pumps inspected. A further 138 pumps, which were due a scheduled inspection, would be checked on August 24.
Of those pumps that were shut down, 53 were in small filling stations and 34 were in stations operated by large retail chains, the ministry said.
The figures made public by the ministry appear to disagree with the general thrust of Borissov’s statement, who implied last week that the fuel pump fraud was widespread. Borissov’s political opponents have claimed that the campaign to check all filling stations was a public relations exercise ahead of local elections due in October – opposition socialists’ leader Mihail Mikov told Bulgarian National Radio that it was nothing by “propaganda noise”.
Meanwhile, the competition watchdog – whom Borissov asked to disclose the results of its probe whether there was a cartel between fuel retailers in the country – has made no such statement. Media reports quoting unnamed sources at the regulator said that Borissov would be given a presentation of the data collected so far by the agency, but a public statement would be made only when the Commission for Protection of Competition finished its investigation.
The Competition Protection Commission last investigated the four largest retail chains in 2012, when it found evidence of collusion but decided not to issue any fines in exchange for the companies agreeing to implement a series of measures meant to fix competition issues.
(Photo: Kiril Havezov/sxc.hu)