1st September was launched the system of electronic asset declarations for judges, high profile officials, Members of Parliament and the President. For the first time, information regarding cash and luxuries – the most popular assets among top-level corrupt officials – must be declared. For the first time, conscious misinformation in declarations that exceeds $13 250 is to be prosecuted as criminal offence.
Absolute majority of high profile officials in Ukraine are against the implementation of this Law, adopted in 2014 after the Euromaidan victory. The Law was supposed to enter into force in the beginning of this year. But in December 2015 and February 2016 the introduction of law was derailed, first time with amendments by MP Andriy Derkach (former ally of Victor Yanukovych) and second time with amendments by MP Vadym Denysenko from the Presidential faction. With the public uproar, help of the European Union and USA, and assistance from our Parliamentary Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction, the legislation was restored, and by 30th October high-level officials must submit e-declarations for 2015.
Large sabotage is in action even today. Created by the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a year behind the scheduled time and with manipulation when electing its Head, the National agency on Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) is now unable to ensure a proper functioning of the web-site with e-declarations. Its interface is not in line with the legislation, the data is incorrectly stored or gets lost, there is also a fact of intentional falsification of declaration of one of the members of the Agency. Together with civil activists we demand that police investigates this falsification. We have also held three special meetings of our Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction, to get the newly formed Agency to correct the problems.
From among 50 thousand declarations to be submitted only 7 thousands are complete. Many hope that this legislation will be once more shut-down at the last moment. From the beginning of September three bills were registered in the Parliament. MP from «Narodniy Front» Tetyana Donets proposes to automatically publish property of officials from the registers of property instead of filling out the e-decalration themselves. MP from Petro Poroshenko Bloc, who now represents the party «Democratic alliance», Mustafa Nayem offered to consider family members, whose assets must also be declared, only those people with whom the official has spent 31st December or 183 days during the year. The leader of presidential faction in Parliament, Ihor Gryniv suggested not to publish information on cash and luxuries. Another representative of presidential faction, who chairs the Parliamentary Tax committee, Nina Yuzhanina told about the initiative to pass a law that would allow anyone who declares his assets and pay 5% of its cost to be released from duty to prove its legality.
As a Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction, I appealed to the authors of all initiatives with a request not to initiate changes now, but to set them aside until winter. By then all e-declarations will be submitted, the first investigations on violations of the Law will begin, and we will be able to better understand, whether anything should be changes in the Law. After media raised a storm of criticism, MPs Nayem and Gryniv have withdrawn their draft laws, MP Yuzhanina agreed to create a working group with the representatives of her's and my Committees to work on a draft law, which would allow tax amnesty without destroying the anticorruption legislation. MP Donets has refused to withdraw her draft law. Our committee acknowledged the bill as corruptogenic and recommended the Parliament not to vote for it.
It is very important, that the key international partners of Ukraine further supported the requirement of civil society of Ukraine - all public officials must make public and prove the legality of origin of their property.