The ACF: Doubts of irregularities in the legal acts in favor of „Eurolab 2011″ for “ Kapitan Andreevo“

ГКПП ''Капитан Андреево''
ГКПП ''Капитан Андреево''. Снимка: Искра.бг

In the second half of July, the Sofia-city Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court /SAC/ speedily ruled on a total of 6 acts on appeals of the company „Eurolab 2011“ Ltd.

One of the court rulings shows serious violations, according to the legal analysis published today by the experts of the Anti-Corruption Fund /ACF/.

The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court dated 19.07.2022, with which the court immediately and unconditionally orders the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency /BABH/ to stop blocking the access of employees of „Eurolab 2011“ EOOD for their carrying out cargo- unloading activity at the border and the performance of the function of „operator“ in the sense of Regulation /EU/ 2017/625 of the European Parliament, is especially worrying.

The court’s definition is puzzling because it reflects the understanding that „operator“ is some special function that is performed only at the border crossing by a private person who loads and unloads goods at the border against receiving a state fee. This, as well as the conclusion that BFSA does not have the right to independently carry out cargo-unloading activities as part of official control activities, are in fact contrary to the letter and spirit of Regulation /EU/ 2017/625, as well as national legislation.

The court’s reasoning was Eurolab 2011″ Ltd. had concluded contracts with the importers to unload their goods. However, according to the ACF experts, there is no way to assign and assume obligations under a contract that would cancel the special permit regime at the border.

„The regulation on border checkpoints categorically prohibits any activities carried out by outsiders that make border control more difficult,“, Laura Georgieva said.

The permissible activities that can be carried out by outsiders at the border are comprehensively listed and they are: banking, insurance and VAT refund. Any other activities in the areas of the border crossing can only be carried out after express permission according to the law. In this case, there is clearly no, and it is not claimed to have, permission from a control authority. Moreover, the carrying out of cargo-unloading activities by an unauthorized private person, at the same time a representative of the importer, would in all cases reduce or create a significant risk of reducing the effectiveness of the official control of the border crossing.“

The ACF experts also discovered irregularities in the allocation of cases following the complaints of „Eurolab 2011“ EOOD in the Supreme Administrative Court. The documents for the three appeals were submitted to the court on three different dates – 16.06.22, 27.06.22 and 01.07.22. Doubts arise that, in violation of the rules of the Supreme Administrative Court, the files received three consecutive case numbers at the same time on 8 July 2022 and were assigned to an almost identical panel at the same time – on 11 July 2022.

The question arises as to what necessitated this delay – in one case more than 20 days, so that the cases on the three files were opened at the same time and were distributed during the court vacation among a limited number of judges,“, the Anti-Corruption Fund asked.

The ACF has reported the irregularities in the allocation of cases to the Inspectorate of the SAC.

„We are following the actions of all institutions in this case with caution. We expect a quick response from the Inspectorate of the SAC regarding the violations found by us and we will inform the public about this in a timely manner,„, Director of the Anti-Corruption Fund, Boyko Stankushev commented.

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