US Agency Wants 'Fair' Settlement over Bulgaria Training Ground Protests

Business | April 9, 2010, Friday // 19:01|  views

Bulgarian builders are demanding delayed payments from contractors working on the Novo Selo Training Ground, a facility used jointly by the Bulgarian and US militaries. Photo by BGNES

The US Army Corps of Engineers has prompted protesting Bulgarian businessmen to refer their claims over the Novo Selo Training Group to the authorities.

The Corps issued a statement Friday in response to the protest rally held on April 7 close to the Novo Selo Training Ground in Southeast Bulgaria. The protesting businesses and workers claim they are owed several million BGN for construction works they have completed as building subcontractors on the training group, which is used jointly by the Bulgarian Army and the US military.

The protesters claim they have not been paid for the services they performed for the German company Bilfinger Berger, and demand that the US Army Corps of Engineers, which finances the Novo Selo training ground, execute the necessary control over the carrying out of the contract.

"The US Army Corps of Engineers would like to provide an update on key elements regarding the construction of facilities at Novo Selo and the dismissal of Dolomit-M as the subcontractor that was hired by Bilfinger Berger Sede Secondaria Italiana (BBSI),“ says the Corps’ statement.

“Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not aware of any new allegations of non-payment for work in recent weeks since the work on the project restarted, we will work with applicable Bulgarian authorities to the fullest extent of the law to ensure the concerns of subcontractors are properly addressed. We encourage anyone who feels they have not been properly paid for their effort to engage the appropriate Bulgarian authorities to conduct investigations in accordance with Bulgarian law,“ the US Agency declares.

It further states that preliminary checks of its own revealed bank statements that show that, as of November 16, 2009, BBSI paid EUR 3.73 M to their previous subcontractor, Dolomit-M Ltd., who is the leading nonpayment claimant.

“Although the US government does have direct authority over the prime contractor, BBSI, we have no authority to dictate a private company’s contractual relationships. We will continue to require our contractors to follow local laws - including payment and employment laws - as well as require those contractors to have the same obligation in their subcontracts,” the US Army Corps of Engineers vows.

It further expresses its commitment to complete on schedule the construction works on the Novo Selo Training Ground.

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Tags: Novo Selo, training ground, protest, US Army Corps of Engineers


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