ILLEGAL EXTRACTION OF INERT MATERIALS
INSPECTION CARRIED OUT BY THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY
SIGNAL ADDRESSED TO THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
There are numerous data concerning violations committed by the “ECO HYDRO 90” company
The Anti-Corruption Fund /ACF/ has notified the Prosecutor’s Office of Bulgaria of an illegal extraction of underground resources in the “Conagovski Chal” area.
It is situated in the land of the Debrashtitsa and Aleko Konstantinovo villages, Pazardzhik Municipality.
The ACF team carried out an inspection on the spot and, based on the results of the inspection, sent a signal to the Ministry of Energy, Ref. no. Е-92-00 -520/23 May 2018.
In the spring of this year – in April and May, ACF found out on the spot that there was a temporary building and a wire-netting with a “Private property” sign in the vicinity of the “Conagovski Chal” deposit /field/. In addition, one can clearly see the compromised terrain of the massif, which, according to the Ministry of Energy, is subject to illegal extraction of underground resources.
ACF sources claim that “ECO-HYDRO-90” Ltd. holds a permit for conducting blasting works in the region, issued by the sector “Public Order Protection and Territorial Police” – Control of Means Dangerous to the Public /Bulgarian abbreviation: KOS/, because the company declared it was planning to build an industrial building /a hall/ there. Our team, however, did not see any construction works on that plot. On the other hand, local residents have witnessed blasting works and loading of inert materials from the adjacent towns/villages. Furthermore, the fund is in possession of photos showing what has been happening.
In their reply to ACF with regard to the above mentioned signal addressed to the Ministry of Energy, the latter inform that the activity of the “Eco-Hydro-90” Ltd. company in “Conagovski Chal” had been subject to an inspection carried out by officials of the ministry on 21 March 2018. The ministry has ascertained that the place (where there is a hydraulic tracked excavator loading rock mass) falls within the boundaries of the “Conagovski Chal” field. In the course of the inspection, the manager of “Eco-Hydro-90” Ltd. was handed a record of findings and was ordered to immediately terminate the illegal activity. The letter of the Ministry of Energy claims that the ministry has already taken action towards imposing an administrative penalty pursuant to the Law on Underground Resources.
ACF reminds that a new article – 240а – has been introduced along with the amendments made in the Criminal Code in the end of 2017. Pursuant to that article, extracting underground resources without a granted concession is not only a violation of the law, which requires the imposing of an administrative penalty, but a crime, too. The person, who holds, keeps, transports, processes, or expropriates illegally extracted underground resources bears criminal liability, too.
The reply of the Ministry of Energy reveals that the 21 March 2018 inspection carried out in the “Conagovski Chal” field ascertained illegal extraction of underground resources, and the manager of “Eco-Hydro-90” Ltd. was ordered to terminate it immediately. As of the moment of identifying the violation, the amendments in the Criminal Code have already become effective. This is why the ACF legal team has notified the state prosecution institution of the case as well.
ACF’s main goal is to set up an effective civil model through a sector anti-corruption strategy of prevention, identification, and counteraction to the corruption and the abuse of power in the Republic of Bulgaria, by carrying out target monitoring of the public and the media environment, as well as of the functioning of the public sector. ACF receives and processes signals associated with corruption and abuse of power, and, in support of the judicial system, forwards them to the relevant institutions.