16 December 2019

In early 2018, "Sega" newspaper journalist Dorothea Dachkova started a trial against the (then) Confiscation Committee, which is now part of the Commission for Combating Corruption and the withdrawal of illegally acquired property (known as "Anti-Corruption Commission"). The information saught by the journalist includes: the number of lawsuits against the Commission (under the State Liability in Damages for Breach of Community Law), under which it was ordered to pay damages; as well as the total amount of the damages paid. This information was not present in the Commission's Annual Reports.

The Commission's then chairman Plamen Georgiev refused to give the applicant access to the requested information on the ground that the latter constitutes an official secret. On November 13th 2019, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled with a decision that the requested information does not constitute an official secret under the Act on Forfeiture in favour of the State of Illegally acquired Assets of Bulgaria, nor under the Classified Information Protection Act. It is worth noting that in its decision, the Court states the following: "It is indisputable that as a result of the disclosure of the information requested, there will be an increase in the transparency and accountability of the competent public authority in relation to its compliance with the law and its budgetary management obligations.