Bulgarian MP, deputy Sofia mayor resign over public procurement row

The deputy mayor for transport in Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia, Lyubomir Hristov, and an MP for the country’s ruling party GERB have submitted their resignations on April 22, a day after local broadcaster Nova Televizia aired a report about a public procurement tender involving public transport stop shelters in Sofia.

According to the report, the tender held last year was won by a company co-owned by Sotir Kotsev, whose spouse Irena Kotseva is a member of Parliament for GERB, the senior partner in the ruling coalition.

The report alleged that the company offered the highest price among eight bidders to build 60 metal and plastic shelters at public transport stops, about 237 000 leva (or 121 000 euro), but won the tender because the other offers were disqualified.

Nova Televizia said that experts assessed the cost of the actual shelters built by the company at half that sum, while also noting that it failed to meet tender criteria, which required the use of weather-resistant and anti-corrosive paint coating.

Hristov was spotted making frequent visits to Kotseva’s home in Samokov, but told Nova that these were not work-related. The public tender was called by Sofia city hall’s centre for urban mobility, a separate entity that manages public transportation in the city.

Hristov denied that he had influenced the choice of contractor, but submitted his resignation because of “the tension created [by the report] and suggestions”. His resignation was accepted by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, who also demanded the resignations of the entire management team at the Sofia centre for urban mobility, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

Kotseva had offered to resign, and media reports said that she submitted her letter of resignation from Parliament in the afternoon hours of April 22. Earlier, the Bulgarian media said that her resignation was demanded by GERB leader, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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