BULGARIA: Bulgaria's Right-Wing Launches Attack on 'Energy Mafia'
31.03.2010 Bulgaria | Business | Corporate | Politics
Bulgaria's right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party had initiated a probe of the State-run energy companies, the party leadership informs Tuesday.
DSB have appraised last Friday the Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, of evidence for large-scale violations at the Thermal Power Plant (TPP) Maritsa – Iztok 2 and the Maritsa Iztok mines, committed between 2004 and 2007.
On Monday, the file has been submitted with the State Agency for National Security (DANS) and Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev. Velchev had ordered the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office to take over the probe to avoid conflict of local interests if the Prosecutor's Office in the city of Stara Zagora does the investigation.
According to Ivan Ivanov, from DSB, the most striking violations involve the unregulated price increase of the lignite coal the TPP had purchased from the mines, which have been 15% higher than the prices on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The violation had led to the 15% price increase of electric power produced by the TPP, which had harmed Bulgarian consumers.
In addition, the price hike had created the impression among consumers that electric power produced from local sources is expensive and it would be better to invest in the construction of the controversial Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the Danube town of Belene.
Between 2007 and 2007, Bulgaria's largest TPP Maritsa – Iztok had not fulfilled its supply contracts with the National Electric Company (NEK), but had sold, at dumping prices, electric power on open markets such as Greece and Turkey through intermediaries, while the difference went into somebody's pockets, DSB insist.
Other money draining schemes included scrap trade, liquidation of State shares, artificially high prices for reconstruction and modernization, and unfavorable deals with Japanese companies.
Ivanov believes the schemes have been carried out beyond 2007 during the leadership of the current Director of the TPP, Georgi Hristozov, and with the silent agreement and, in some cases, even participation of several energy ministers and heads of NEK and the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKVER)
On Monday, the right-wing announced they sent to the Chief Prosecutor a file with documents about large-scale violations committed between 2004 and 2007 by three former Energy Ministers: Milko Kovachev, Miroslav Sevlievski, and Rumen Ovcharov.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, is on an official visit to Maritsa – Iztok.
Source: Sofia News Agency