Bulgarian Border Police top officers quit after migrant transport contract given to ‘people-trafficker’
Bulgarian Border Police chief Antonio Angelov and senior commissioner Yotko Andreev resigned on August 15 after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov demanded that heads roll after a contract to transport migrants was awarded to an alleged people-trafficker.
Roumyana Buchvarova, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, had accepted the resignations of Angelov and Andreev, a brief statement by the Interior Ministry said.
It said that Angelov and Andreev had led the public procurement procedure to rent a bus to transport people who were in custody after being found to be in the country illegally.
By order of the Interior Ministry leadership, due diligence and review of the procedure had begun on August 14. The investigation would continue to clarify all details, the Interior Ministry statement said.
According to public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio, a committee of five Border Police officers reviewed and ranked the bids of the companies that sought the tender to transport detained migrants.
Those familiar with the case said that at the contract signing, the successful bidder was represented by his father, which most likely had led to officials missing the fact that the true owner of the company, Grigor Grigorov, was under investigation for alleged trafficking in refugees.
BNR said that it had contacted Grigorov but he had declined to comment.
Further dismissals were expected in the course of August 15, the report said.
Employees of the Border Police argued that had the winning firm’s awarding of the contract been revoked, the owner of the company could have taken court action, with a great deal of probability of winning.
Earlier on August 15, Borissov told reporters that he had instructed Buchvarova to ask for the resignations of the top Border Police officers.
Borissov said that he saw no wrongdoing on the part of Buchvarova and he would not be asking for her resignation.
(Archive photo: Antonio Angelov, whose resignation as chief of the Bulgarian Border Police was accepted by Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova on August 15 2016)