The representatives of all parliamentary factions registered the bill which is aimed to amend the law ‘On political parties in Ukraine’ in rush and behind the scenes. The bill concerns state financing of political parties. In particular, it contains the norm which demolishes the ability of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) to effectively verify political parties’ financial reports and, therefore, reveal the false information in the reports.
The MPs want to determine that NAPC “is not authorized to provide a legal assessment of the quality of the goods or services provided to a political party, their feasibility for a political party, as well as to establish whether the transactions involving a political party are fictitious, and independently establish compliance of services provided with the market value”. Therefore, the National Agency will not be able to reveal the goods or services provided for political parties at significantly overstated or undervalued price, nor will be able to verify if the transactions indicated in the report took place at all.
This lays the ground for the uncontrolled spending of billions of hryvnias received from the state budget by parties: only in 2020 and 2021 the parliamentary parties received almost 1.4 billion hryvnias from taxpayers as state funding and compensation for election campaign expenses.
State funding of parties is an important step for transforming political projects into real parties that represent the interests of voters on the opposite to a narrow group of private donors. However, the public should know how the state funds are spent, while parties and their representatives must be held accountable for their attempts to deceive the voters. This cannot be achieved if the reliability control of party financial reports is eliminated by legislative amendments.
This bill is another step towards weakening the control system of party finances: a year ago the MPs allowed parties not to submit the financial reports during the quarantine period due to COVID-19 and the MPs are still delaying its restoration, although the bill is in the Parliament for over two months.
The amendments proposed by the factions are apparently a reaction to the fact that the National Agency recently suspended the state funding for three parliamentary parties due to unreliable information in their financial reports. Parties are trying to protect themselves from such decisions in the future instead of addressing far more serious problems of fictitious donors, the use of public and charitable organizations to hide the shadow funding, the issue of inadequate control over election expenses, etc. All these actions demonstrate that parliamentary parties are trying to create more favorable conditions for political corruption instead of developing the system to prevent it.
The NAPC should have all the necessary tools to detect false information in parties’ financial reports. The transparency of parties’ financial transactions is a key element in preventing political corruption and avoiding misuse of state funding received by parties. Considering it all, the civil society calls on the Parliament of Ukraine and all factions to:
1. withdraw bill No.5253, which significantly eliminates the powers of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption to control the political parties financing;
2. support bill No.4611 as soon as possible to restore the obligation of political parties to submit financial reports to the NAPC.
This statement is supported by the following organizations:
- Movement CHESNO
- Anti-corruption action centre
- Anti-corruption headquarters
- Institute of legislative ideas
- Transparency International Ukraine
- Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC)
- AutoMaidan movement
- Civil council at the NAPC
- Рух ЧЕСНО
- Центр протидії корупції
- Антикорупційний штаб
- Інститут законодавчих ідей
- Transparency International Ukraine
- Міждисциплінарний науково-освітній центр протидії корупції в Україні (ACREC)
- Всеукраїнське об’єднання “Автомайдан”
- Громадська рада при НАЗК
- NGO Platform of Civic Control
- Centre for civic monitoring and research
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