Emco Weapons Manufacturer Loses Trade Licence, Production Continues

Sofia, August 21 (BTA) - The interagency council on the defence industry has decided to revoke the trading licence of weapons manufacturer Emco, Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov told a news briefing on Monday. He said the decision was meant "to protect the interests of the population and the safety of workers".

Hundreds of workers gathered to protest Monday the possible shut-down of the Emco plant.

"Instead of making people go out in the street and close roads, the management should undertake actions to address the irregularities and their licence will be immediately restored," the Minister said.

He specified that only Emco's trading licence was revoked and the company will continue production.

It transpired from Karanikolov's words that Emco keeps in its warehouses ammunition and substances, which the law says should be kept separately. The company was also caught to be violating the fire safety standards.

"The law clearly says that such violations lead to suspension of the trade licence. If we had had a reason to revoke the production licence, we would have done it," said Karanikolov.

He added that the management has been instructed to deal with the problems.

Emco loses its trading licence for a period of six months or until the irregularities are addressed.

The competent authorities have been asked to carry out checks in all companies of the Bulgarian defence industry.

Another company in the defence sector, Dunarit of Rousse, faced a suspension of its licence after its chief executive was implicated in a money laundering scandal.

Source: Sofia