Bulgarian PM: 309 Special Flights Worth BGN 3 M Conducted During GERB Term

Domestic | June 7, 2013, Friday // 15:15|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's special Flight Crew 28 carried out a total of 309 flights worth BGN 3 M during the term of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's Cabinet, Borisov's successor, Plamen Oresharki, said Friday.

This became clear after the Chief Inspectorate of the Council of Minister launched an inspection into Flight crew 28 by order of the Prime Minister.

On Wednesday Bulgarian MPs backed the establishment of an ad-hoc committee tasked with investigating the facts and figures on the alleged misuse of Flight Crew 28, as well as military aircraft and helicopters, during the term in office of the center-right GERB government.

On Thursday, the nationalist Ataka leader Volen Siderov stated that during the term of the GERB Cabinet governmental and military airplanes had carried money out of Bulgaria to Lebanon to be poured into offshore bank accounts.

Borisov responded to Siderov's allegations by clarifying that he did not fly to Lebanon and Qatar on the government's Airbus on his sole state visits there with all the journalists and business delegations accompanying him. He vowed to sue Siderov for libel.

Answering Ataka MP Vrentsislav Lakov's question on the matter, PM Plamen Oresharski admitted from the Parliamentary tribune that he has encountered a string of weaknesses in the system of reporting the requested flights of Flight Crew 28 and has ordered their instant removal.

The Chief Inspectorate will finish its inspection by June 28 and will send the collected information to the ad-hoc parliamentary committee investigating the matter.

The Prime Minister cited the general director of Flight Crew 28 Pencho Penchev, revealing that the crew had conducted 309 flights on different routes, costing the state budget around BGN 3 M for the 2009-2013 period. The data, however, carries no indication who has requested the flights.

"On the matter with the destroyed documents - I am not acquainted with such a case. But the sole fact that the requests have not been properly reported speaks of weaknesses in the handling of the documents, which does not allow a firm conclusion in favor of either side," Oresharski said.

Last week, the private TV channel bTV reported that the written requests for the flights had been destroyed.

Pencho Penchev denied the existence of any secret information.

The scandal over Flight Crew 28 broke out in the summer of 2012  when it emerged that the government aircraft had been used to take two amateur league football teams to the Black Sea city of Varna for a match.

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Tags: Air Force, government aircraft, parliamentary committee, GERB government, flight crew 28, government aircraft, Plamen Oresharski, Boyko Borisov


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