The ski runs at Aleko
The matter has been referred to the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor’s Office /Bulgarian abbreviation: VAP/ by the Anti-Corruption Fund /ACF/
General supervision with regard to the lawfulness of actions
The matter has been referred to the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor’s Office by ACF
The Decree on the Safety and the Provision of Information Boards to the Ski Runs in the Republic of Bulgaria /dated 1 October 2015/ obliges the minister of tourism to issue an order regarding the grading of the difficulty of the ski runs and their safety.
Pursuant to Art. 155, Par. 5 of the Law on Tourism, the committee assessing the type of the ski runs and their safety conducts an inspection, after a request is addressed to the minister of tourism by the owner, or the individual holding the rights of use with regard to the facility adjacent to the ski run.
On 8 December 2015, “Vitosha Ski“ JSC filed a request to the minister of tourism concerning the grading of the difficulty of the ski runs in the “Aleko” ski zone in the territory of “Vitosha” Nature Park. The company (“Vitosha Ski“ JSC) was required to supplement the file, and the gaps and the irregularities were eliminated in their entirety. In addition, the minister of tourism stated that, in case of suitable weather conditions, a specialized committee would conduct an inspection in order to assess the type of the ski runs and their safety, however no such order has been duly issued so far.
The above facts have been ascertained by the ACF legal team on the basis of a comprehensive research of the public information available, as well as pursuant to the Law on the Access to Public Information.
Due to the failed execution of the duty to issue an order, which took place in December 2015 (when “Vitosha Ski“ JSC filed the request), a threat arose with regard to the safety control of the ski runs in the “Aleko“ ski zone, as well as with respect to the life and safety of the citizens using the services of “Vitosha Ski“ JSC.
In addition, the ACF legal team addressed a request for information /pursuant to the Law on the Access to Public Information/ to the director of the South-Western State Enterprise /“Yugozapadno Darzhavno Predpriyatie” – YZDP/ concerning the legal provisions and the documents, based on which “Vitosha Ski“ JSC had been using the state forest territories within “Vitosha” Nature Park, in which the stations and the routes of all the cableways in the park owned by “Vitosha Ski“ JSC are situated.
Along with the copies of the contracts signed between “DGS Sofia” territorial subdivision and “Vitosha Ski“ JSC, ACF have been provided also with Decree no. 546/8 December 2014, Decree no. РД-07-793/28 December 2015, Decree no. РД-07-1341/13 December 2016, and Decree no. РД-07-1233-1/15 December 2017, issued by the director of “YZDP” – Blagoevgrad. Each of the decrees authorizes the renting out of the plots of land without holding any tender pursuant to Art. 43, Par. 3, item 2 of the Forestry Law. Based on these decrees, respectively, leases were signed on the following dates: 15 December 2014, 25 January 2016, 15 December 2016, and 15 December 2017. The subject of all those contracts was temporary and paid use of 117 plots of land – “ski runs“, situated within the territory of “DGS Sofia” territorial subdivision, “Vitosha” Nature Park.
In such a way, within several consecutive years, in the period December 2014 – December 2017, “YZDP” – Blagoevgrad signed 4 leases, all of them concerning one and the same 117 plots of land – ski runs, and all of them having the “Vitosha Ski“ JSC legal entity as a party to the contract.
The provision of Art. 43, Par. 3, item 2 of the Forestry Law stipulates that plots of land within forest territories – state and municipal property – may be rented out by the organ without holding a tender when the territory is rented out for a period shorter than one year. The above cited contracts were signed on these grounds within several successive years only for the period of the winter seasons. Thus we start suspecting that the obligatory holding of a tender is being evaded.
In the above cases we also suspect violation of the imperative legal regulation obliging the minister of tourism to issue a decree categorizing the ski runs and assessing their safety, and respectively to execute his supervisory power, as well as evasion of Art. 43, Par. 2 of the Forestry Law concerning the renting out of plots of land within forest territories, which are state property. In this regard, the ACF legal team notified VAP in view of their competence and the execution of the general supervision with regard to the lawfulness of actions, failure to act, and acts of the state organs.
The management of “Vitosha” Nature Park and the citizens’ safety within the boundaries of the park are issues of great public importance, and it is no coincidence that the Bulgarian nationals focus their attention on them. ACF will notify you of any action or lack of action of the institutions we have informed in this regard.