In recent days, Ukraine has been shaken by a number of large-scale corruption scandals.
After a journalistic investigation into overpayment of the cost of food for the military, the entire Ukraine was shocked by detention of the deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine by the NABU officers while receiving a brive in the amount of 400,000 USD. This was followed by another journalistic investigation into MP’s alleged acquisition of expensive real estate in the center of Kyiv. Recently, journalists have also published data indicating that deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko may have received illegal gifts.
These events have confirmed that corruption has not disappeared among Ukrainian officials even during the full-scale war. At the same time, it is important to identify such cases among officials and bring them to justice in order to maintain the trust of society and international partners.
The important step in this direction should be the resumption of electronic declaration submission by officials and MPs.
The respective draft law No. 8071 was approved by the Verkhovna Rada Committee back in November, but has not been adopted yet by the Parliament even in the first reading.
So far, officials and MPs have not submitted declarations even in 2021. In March 2022, in view of the russia’s full-scale invasion, the Verkhovna Rada exempted all public servants from this obligation.
Under circumstances, such a step could be considered justified. Today, however, there are no obstacles for officials working far from the combat zone to fill in information about their assets.
The ambassadors of G7 countries to Ukraine have already named the immediate resumption of asset declarations submission as one of Ukraine’s top priorities for 2023. At the same time, in order to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, we need to implement the recommendation to strengthen the fight against corruption.
This is because maintaining public and international trust in the government is critical in times of war. After recent corruption scandals resumption of asset declarations would be important signal to the public and our international partners that Ukraine remains committed to fighting corruption and that budget funds from Ukrainian taxpayers and assistance from international partners are used responsibly.
The public demands that the obligation for officials to submit electronic declarations should be immediately resumed by adopting draft law No.8071 in the first reading and promptly finalized for adoption in the second reading.
Anti-Corruption Action Center
All-Ukrainian Association Automaidan
NAPC Public Council
Transparency International Ukraine
Institute of Legislative Ideas
Civic Control Platform
NABU Public Control Council
Kharkiv Anti-corruption Center