Bulgaria Customs Boss: Ruling Party Members Try to Influence MeDomestic | January 11, 2011, Tuesday // 14:49| views
GERB front-bench MPs Iskra Fidosova (L), Menda Stoyanova (C) and Customs Agency director Vanyo Tanov (R). Photos by BGNES
Members of the Bulgarian GERB ruling party have been trying to influence director Vanyo Tanov on appointments in the Customs Agency, according to Tanov himself.
Tanov was speaking in an interview for the Bulgarian National TV Tuesday in the wake of alleged fresh records of secretly taped conversations involving him and GERB members.
The two phone dialogues involved front-bench MPs Iskra Fidosova (chair of the Legal Committee) and Menda Stoyanova (chair of the Budget Committee), each of whom was apparently trying to pressure Tanov into appointing a person of her choice at key customs positions.
In the alleged records Tanov is expressly unwilling to do so and is trying to deflect the encroachments of the two GERB MPs.
Speaking Tuesday, the Customs Agency director commented , "There have been many attempts on the part of GERB members to influence me on the choice of cadres for the customs, but I have never been pressured to make a particular choice."
Tanov moreover stated that the two conversations surfaced Monday are wholly or partly inauthentic, qualifying the Menda Stoyanova record as a "fake collage", and adding that the Iskra Fidosova record had statements from elsewhere inserted into it.
The Customs Agency director moreover failed to specify precisely which GERB members have tried to influence him and to what extent.
Over the past week, Tanov was involved in a prior leaked secret surveillance tapes scandal, in which records of conversations between him and his superiors, FinMin Simeon Djankov and vice-FinMin Vladislav Goranov, in which the three were apparently harshly dissing Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov regarding his qualifications and good intent for the job he is doing.
PM Boyko Borisov reacted to the incident as displaying a healthy rivalry in his cabinet. There is an ongoing controversy within Bulgarian society as to the level leading government officials are being secretly surveilled and the acceptability of this phenomenon. PM Borisov has somewhat extravagantly quipped that officials need to know they are watched in order to be serious about the righteous performance of their public duties.
What remained in the background is the fact that the taped conversations also relate to the topic of the channels of illegal trafficking, particularly of cigarettes, and the methods of state control and monitoring over them.
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