Two companies collecting tolls and payments for electronic vignettes on behalf of the Road Infrastructure Agency as national service providers have received BGN 57 million. from commissions. They take 7% of the value of each vignette and toll fee. This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Zahari Hristov in the program “Studio X” on TV “7/8”. He pointed out that this is worrying, and when asked by him to the former head of the toll management – Oleg Assenov, why exactly these two companies, he did not answer. Deputy Minister Hristov made a comparison that before 2019, when the vignettes were made of paper, the department that dealt with the collection in RIA was 12 people who received a commission of only 1.5%.
The Deputy Minister said that 28 contracts have been signed for the construction and management of the toll system. The main one is for building the system for BGN 180 million. with Kapsh Traffic Solution. Later, in the process of design and construction, another 27 separate contracts were concluded for BGN 46 million. for additional activities. “Seven months after the conclusion of the main contract, an agreement was concluded with changes in the main elements of the main contract, but the financial parameters are preserved, as it comes to additional assignments of activities,” said Hristov. He added that at the same time in the toll management there is no unit to monitor the implementation of these contracts, and there are no approved internal regulations for the activities of the service.
The Deputy Regional Minister pointed out that out of 295 control points (cameras) of the system, about 30 are functioning. According to him, this raises the question why it was paid to build 295 points. “Who is responsible for the money given to cameras that do not work. In addition, out of 295 control points, 195 are old RIA counting points, on which only cameras are installed. That is, Kapsh has built only 100 checkpoints. At the same time, the points and data centers attached to them – for over BGN 100 million, are not insured, “Hristov commented.
He pointed out that communication with Kapsh is difficult, as they do not provide information on how many people support the system software, and for that they receive BGN 2 million. per month under a five-year contract. There are also 4 confidential agreements with the company. One of them states that Kapsh, which is supposed to provide maintenance, has no commitment to supply spare parts for the toll system, but is a commitment of RIA. “Now if a truck pushes a frame, no one knows what will be done,” Hristov stressed.
He reminded that since the start of the toll system on January 1, 2019, BGN 392 million have been collected for the first year. from vignettes. For 2020, when tolls from trucks are already paid, BGN 592 thousand have been collected. less. “Over 80% of this collection is from vignettes. If we had left RIA to collect the vignettes, and the toll management – toll fees, the bill would have been scandalous. Ie the Bulgarian taxpayer continues to support the entire system with vignette fees, “Hristov commented. According to him, if the toll system continues to function in this way for another 50 years, the result will be the same. “Assenov’s claims that the decline in revenue is due to the coronavirus and reduced traffic are incorrect. The gentleman in question was an external consultant in the construction of the toll system, and after the construction he headed it. Interests intertwine here, “Hristov said. He also asked why Oleg Assenov turned off the 200 km optical network set in the project for connecting the border checkpoints and left the connection to be through mobile operators. “Mr. Assenov also did not answer why the most expensive version of the toll system was chosen. At the same time, the most expensive electronic system has 200,000 unprocessed violations for BGN 70 million, because they are entered manually, “Hristov said. “You can’t buy the most expensive toll system and have 200,000 unprocessed fines for BGN 70 million. It’s a paradox, no matter where you look, “he said.
Deputy Minister Zahari Hristov stressed that during the construction of the toll system, the toll management should have been the only management of the system. Then it turns out that it cannot manage the system and we provide a contract to Kapsh for BGN 140 million. for a period of 5 years to manage the system.