Bulgaria Registry Agency Head Dismissed amid Bonus Scandal
Violeta Nikolova, Executive Director of Bulgaria's Registry Agency, has been removed from her post, according to a Monday statement of the Justice Ministry's press office.
The move was triggered by the poor results of an audit of the institution which was concluded at the end of last week and yet another scandal with hefty bonus payment awarded to officials of the Registry Agency.
In the beginning of February, it was revealed that Nikolova had received BGN 72 000 in additional financial incentives, BGN 24 000 of which had been ordered by former Justice Minister Margarita Popova.
The news triggered an inspection by internal auditors and by the Inspectorate to the Ministry of Justice.
According to reports of the local BGNES news agency, Nikolova treated herself to a bonus of BGN 7000 in September and another one of BGN 4000 in October 2011.
Nikolova refused to disclose information about the bonus payments on the grounds that it was "personal data".
She also rejected a petition based on the Access to Public Information Act requesting information about all bonuses paid to officials at the Registry Agency.
The motive for barring access to the data was that the step would have affected third parties who had raised objections to the disclosure.
Bulgaria's Registry Agency services the Trade Register.
The website of the institution was "unavailable" for quite some time in 2011.
The system was not functional for some 10 days in late May and early June 2011.
After that, the Registry Agency's website was plagued by poor maintenance for another month.
This coincided with the deadline for filing annual financial reports.
At the beginning of 2011, Registry Agency staff received bonuses worth over BGN 160 000 for four months.
The sums paid were up to BG 1000 per person and were distributed among all officials of the Agency.
On Friday, the Director of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) stepped down after it was revealed that she had pocketed a bonus of дэеи BGN 12 000 for 2011.
Later the same day, Nadya Shabani, head of Bulgaria's state Child Protection Agency, also submitted her resignation, citing personal reasons.
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