Evidence of Borisov's Alleged Misuse of Bulgarian Govt Craft Turns Destroyed

Society | May 31, 2013, Friday // 17:47|  views

Former Bulgarian PM, Boyko Borisov, is known to be an avid amateur football player. Photo by BGNES

The written requests for flights of Bulgaria's former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, have been destroyed and are no longer available.

The information was reported Friday by bTV and is actually the response sent to the media by the Council of Ministries in a reply to an inquiry of their journalists.

The use of the government Airbus became grounds for a scandal last summer when it emerged that the PM ordered the plane's pilots to fly to the Black Sea city of Varna two low-tier football teams close to him and his friend, controversial former Member of the Parliament from Borisov's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party GERB, Emil Dimitrov, after losing a bet in a card game.

The claims were never proven with documented evidence.

In August 2012, bTV reporter Konstantin Karadzhov asked to have access to the said requests, but got a silent refusal. He sent a second inquiry in November 2012, but once again the Head of the PR Office of the Council of Ministries, Nikolay Boev, failed to reply not only within the 14-day legal deadline, but he did not provide any answer.

Karadzhov appealed the refusal. In Court, the only explanation given by the government legal counsel was that the information had to be provided not by them, but by the aircraft's crew. The Sofia Administrative Court rejected the explanation on grounds the Council of Ministries was the one to redirect the request to the so-called Government Flight Crew 28 and then notify the journalist, notwithstanding the fact records of flights are kept by the government as well.

According to the magistrates, the requested information was not classified, thus it could not be deemed a threat to national security and public order and the refusal was a violation of the access to information right and legislation.

At the end of April, 2013, the magistrates ruled to revoke the silent refusal of the government to provide information on flights.

The response about the documents being destroyed has just been received by bTV. It has been prepared by the caretaker Cabinet, but it is signed by Boev, who, as of Wednesday, no longer works for the government.

The reply states that Borisov's written requests for flights of Flight Crew 28 had only coordinating nature and a large portion of them did not correspond to the real assignments due to technical reasons or sudden change of schedule, thus there was no practice of archiving them and keeping them in the government's Protocol unit and other offices.

However, legal experts are quoted in saying the above is either an admission of breaches of the law and even crime, or a lie, which is also a crime – providing an answer related to public access to information with false content.

According to the regulations of Flight Crew 28, the written requests must include data about the passengers and/or the cargo, the airports, the flight schedule, and the possible air escort. They should be publically available.

After the journalist won the case in Court, caretaker Prime Minister, Marin Raykov, asked for an extension for the response on grounds he needed more time to find out if his Cabinet should provide information on the routes of the country leader and if this information was of public interest.

Back in August, 2012, Borisov insisted he had not done anything wrong, and that the infamous flight has been requested and paid for by the Bulgarian Football Union.

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Tags: football, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, GERB, BSP, MP, Emil Dimitrov, airbus, Varna, card game, aircraft, government, flights, state budget, amateur, football, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, GERB, BSP, MP, Emil Dimitrov, airbus, Varna, Vitosha Bistritsa, Chavdar, Etropole, tigers, cards game, Sofia Administrative Court, Supreme Administrative Court, Council of Ministries, government


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