Bulgaria’s Registry Agency chief resigns after Trade Register fiasco

Written by on August 17, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria’s Registry Agency chief resigns after Trade Register fiasco

Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry said on August 17 that the head of the country’s Registry Agency, Zornitsa Daskalova, has submitted her resignation, which was accepted by Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva.

Daskalova’s resignation comes a day after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that he planned a management reshuffle at the agency in the wake of the public row caused by the extended downtime at the Trade Register.

Access to the register – which houses data that Bulgarian companies and non-profit entities are required by law to declare, such as ownership and management details, registration information and annual reports, among others – was disabled on August 10.

The Registry Agency, which maintains the register and is subordinate to the Justice Ministry, initially said that the reason was a technical malfunction that it was working to fix, but gave no further details. Its estimate that the problem could be fixed within a day proved overly optimistic and the issues persisted over the weekend, with some functionality restored this week.

Earlier this week, before Borissov’s remarks, Daskalova appeared bullish on her own future at the helm of the agency, while at the same time downplaying the Trade Register malfunction, saying that “these things happen”.

This view was in stark contrast to statements from business associations, which warned that the Trade Register’s downtime would severely curtail a number of routine business activities, preventing companies from operating normally.

Borissov himself did not call for Daskalova’s resignation and said that any changes would be carried out after the crisis was solved.

Reports in Bulgarian media said that he met with Tsacheva on August 17, but it was not immediately clear what was discussed. The timing of Daskalova’s resignation, shortly after the meeting concluded, implied that this was the subject, some reports said, while others speculated that the meeting was prompted by the downtime of the Justice Ministry’s own website, which was down for several hours on August 17, raising new questions about the ministry’s management of its IT systems.

(Photo of Bulgaria’s government building: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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