Bulgarian Customs Agency Head Seeks Closure of Svilengrad CustomsDomestic | May 30, 2012, Wednesday // 17:55| views
Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov has argued that the Svilengrad customs office should be closed. Photo by BGNES
Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov has vowed to ask Finance Minister Simeon Djankov to close the customs office in the southeastern Bulgarian town of Svilengrad.
"The unit will be monitored in the next 2-3 months. Most probably, ministerial-level management decisions will have to be taken, but the existence of the customs office in Svilengrad is under question," Tanov said Wednesday at a special briefing of the customs administration.
He explained that in the case of a closure of the Svilengrad customs office, the remaining bureaus would be transferred to other territorial units of the Customs Agency like the ones in Plovdiv and Burgas.
Tanov went on to say that three senior officials of the Svilengrad customs office would be subject to disciplinary action.
He announced that the three would be demoted – the toughest penalty before a disciplinary dismissal.
Tanov made clear that the director of the Svilengrad customs office, Todor Karaivanov, had also been penalized but would keep his job until the opening of a competition for the position.
The penalties come after a widely-publicized special police operation at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing point.
In the course of a special police operation codenamed 'Customs' carried out on May 2, the day shift of 32 customs officers at Kapitan Andreevo was detained on suspicion of participating in bribery and extortion schemes.
Charges were pressed against 8 customs officers – five were said to have participated in an organized crime group and three were said to have taken bribes.
In his Thursday statement, the Customs Agency director noted that the restrictive measures had also been triggered by the poor results of the customs officers from Svilengrad at the ongoing loyalty tests.
Tanov revealed that 17% of the unit's 270-strong staff had failed the test completely, while 40% had been evaluated by the psychologists as "counterproductive".
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