Bulgarian Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski has fired State Motor Vehicle Inspection agency head Vladimir Kolev, the transport ministry said on April 11.
The announcement came after the head of Bulgaria’s Motor Vehicle Administration Agency, Tsvetelin Tsvetanov, and other agency officials were arrested in an anti-corruption raid in capital city Sofia on March 31.
Kolev was fired because of insufficient control at regional departments of the State Motor Vehicle Inspection agency, leading to irregularities and illegal practices. The agency is part of the structure of the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency.
Further dismissals of inspectors around Bulgaria were forthcoming, the Transport Ministry said.
Reacting to his dismissal, Kolev told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio that he had not noticed any corruption in the administration.
“If I had noticed such practices, I would have had to report them to a higher level…i did not notice such practices, and we did not receive any reports either,” Kolev said.
He said that “these were things not known to me”. “I can tell you that certainly I did not conceal such reports. I can speak for myself”.
Meanwhile, centre-right opposition party the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB), formerly a part of the ruling coalition, called for the resignation of Transport Minister Moskovski because of the corruption scandal at the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency.
The DSB said that there had been two “corruption schemes” at the agency, one run by majority government coalition partner GERB, the other by opposition party the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and went on to ask whether these two schemes were connected.
The DSB called for more thorough investigations into other government structures where for years there had been talk of corruption.
DSB leader Radan Kanev said that no one had accepted political responsibility for the actions of dismissed Motor Vehicle Administration Agency chief Tsvetanov. Moskovski should accept political responsibility because the corruption at the agency had existed for a long time and no one had reacted, Kanev said, adding that it was Moskovski as Transport Minister who had signed the authorisation for the appointment of Tsvetanov.
Tsvetanov had proved to be a political orphan because everyone had shifted responsibility for his appointment, Kanev said.
The DSB leader alleged that the corruption at the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency was not an isolated case.
“The same thing happens at the State Motor Vehicle Inspection agency agency, the State Fund Agriculture, state enterprises for forest management, to a great extent at the Road Infrastructure Agency,” Kanev said.
(Photo of Moskovski: Bulgarian Ministry of Transport)