Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov has ordered the Special Prosecutor’s Office to begin an immediate investigation into the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency ...

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Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov has ordered the Special Prosecutor’s Office to begin an immediate investigation into the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency to check for possible malfeasance and whether the agency awarded contracts unfavourable to state coffers, the Prosecutor’s Office said on August 8.

Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, on August 8, ordered a check into Bulgarian Food Safety Agency for possible malfeasance in office and whether the agency signed unfavourable contracts in connection with animal waste disposal amid the outbreaks of African Swine Fever, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The check has been prompted by a film, 'War for Carcasses', by investigative journalist Genka Shikerova.

In the course of the inspection, the Bulgarian Food Safety agency will be required to provide documents related to a 2017 procurement tender for animal waste disposal.

The check will look into contracts signed by BFSA in 2018 in a direct contracting procedure for animal waste disposal in mobile incinerators, as well the annexes to those contracts.

The Prosecutor’s office will check documents for all payments made by the contracting authority under the contracts and annexes (BFSA) to the contractors, as well as for the activities performed by them for which payments were made, for the identification of actually processed and paid quantities of animal waste;

The check will also examine documents certifying what control had been exercised by BFSA over the contractors and the disposed waste quantities for which pay was due; information about the capacity of the incinerators; mobile incinerators of each of the contracted companies, as well as data on the specific processed quantities of them by time and location;

It will seek information about the state of the existing incinerator facilities on the territory of the country and the reasons they are not used to dispose of pig carcasses now.

The check will look into all orders and instructions by BFSA in relation to the prescribed manner for disposing of carcasses of pig culled as a result of ASF, in order to establish why the carcasses are buried and not burned or disposed of in a different manner. It will also assess the possible health risks to people. The check will examine how the mobile incinerators have been used during the current ASF outbreak as well as in earlier outbreaks of bird flu and ovine rinderpest and the payments made by BFSA.

The prosecutor's office will provide timely information on the results of the investigation and the follow-up.