Civil registry union questions appointment of Sonda-linked director

- Thursday, May 26, 2011

Civil registry union questions appointment of Sonda-linked director

Chilean civil registry workers union Anercich has questioned the appointment of the registry's new director, Rodrigo Durán, due to a possible conflict of interest.

In a statement, the union called attention to the fact that Durán was previously general manager of Multitarjetas, a company that operates credit and debit cards and a subsidiary of Multicaja, where Chilean IT systems integrator Sonda is a shareholder.

According to the union, Durán's connections with Sonda are a concern, as it is one of the companies participating in a bidding process to provide the civil registry with new digital platform for ID cards and passports.

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This is not the first time concerns have arisen about the civil registry's processes. The same office was previously investigated in 2008, after apparent irregularities surfaced in another contract award. Former civil registry head Guillermo Arenas was accused of tax fraud and disclosure of secret information after he and an advisor, Andrés Contardo, allegedly informed multinational company Tata on the inner workings of the contract process.

"We are sorry to hear that the chosen candidate is someone who was recently part of Multicaja, a Sonda partner, a company with a long and questioned history with us," Anercich said in the statement. "We don't want our institution to be involved again in a conflict of interest. We believe that authorities and institution should keep a path of transparency and public and community commitment, away from any source of doubt," said the union.

Although Anercich asked justice minister Felipe Bulnes to reconsider the decision, but the ministry's answer was negative.

Durán "has extensive work experience, such as with the [tax agency] SII, and is a civil engineer with a PhD. We are trying to attract more skilled people into the public service. And yes, he used to work for Multicaja. But Sonda has only 20% participation, and we don't think this is incompatible with the job," Bulnes told local media.