Activists: Ukrainian Government and the President failed to launch the system of electronic declarations – preconditions for visa liberalization
The RPR Anti-corruption Group warns the government and the President against failure to fully implement Ukraine’s obligations to launch the system of electronic declarations and introduce the crime of submission false information in asset declarations.
Both these steps are preconditions for visa liberalization with the European Union and further financial assistance from International Monetary Fund. These steps are also one of the most crucial for anti-corruption reform and as such are demanded by the people of Ukraine.
The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) scheduled the launch of the system of electronic declarations for August 15, 2016. After the system is launched, criminal liability for submission of false information in asset declarations should also be enacted.
However, Ukrainian authorities are preparing to postpone the system of electronic declarations or launch it in a way that will guarantee impunity of officials who submit false information on their assets.
According to Ukrainian legislation electronic declarations will have legal value only after the system receives certificate of conformity for an integrated information security system (IISS).
On August 12, 2016 the State Agency for Special Communications took official decision not to grant the system of electronic declarations the IISS certificate.
If the system does not have this certificate, it cannot be launched and if launched in test mode the declarations will not be accepted as proper evidence in court and thus may not bring forward criminal liability for submission of false information.
Launch of the system of e-declarations without IISS certificate does not ensure enactment of the crime of submission false information in asset declarations.
Motivation for denial to grant the system of electronic declarations with IISS certificate is highly manipulative and in many points is an outright lie
Firstly, the Agency for Special Communications claimed that that the software for the system is not yet ready and thus cannot guarantee proper data protection. However, the system consists of several modules. IISS certificate is needed for one module of the system – the module for submission and publication of electronic declarations. This module is fully developed; it was tested independently and by the Agency for Prevention of Corruption with participation of the Agency for Special Communications.
Based on these tests the Agency for Prevention of Corruption accepted the system into its ownership on July 27, 2016. The Final Provisions of the Corruption Prevention Law and the NACP decision on the system’s launch clearly state that it should be the system for “submission and publication” of asset declarations and nothing else. Moreover, the Agency for Special Communications itself endorsed the system’s software in such scope when it started the process of certification and approved the terms of reference of the IISS on August 3.
Not ready is the module for automatic verification of declarations; however, this module is not mandatory either legally or technically for full operationality of the software for submission and publication of declarations.
Notably, the register integration and verification module cannot become operational without access to state registries that the Agency for Prevention of Corruption could not secure, and without IISS certificate for the module for submission and publication of declarations.
Secondly, the Agency for Special Communications points out that the system of electronic declarations does not ensure data protection in particularly because it provides for identification of users through BankID. However, such option of identification of users was directly provided for by technical conditions for development of the IISS, which was adopted by the Agency for Special Communications. The use of the BankID in the system is also mandatory according to the NACP Regulations on the system’s operation which were registered by the Ministry of Justice and became a binding legal act.
Finally, the audit of the system of electronic declarations on proper data protection was implemented by a state-owned institution directly subordinate to the Agency for Special Communications. Decision to offer state-owned institution instead of the independent private licensed company was approved by the Agency on the last stage of preparation for launch of the system and caused a delay in the process of almost a week. Therefore the audit organisation was not independent from the Agency and had clear conflict of interests and therefore its conclusions are not credible.
Therefore, RPR regards decision not to grant the system of electronic declarations the IISS certificate as political attempt to disrupt effective launch of the system and to block enactment of criminal liability for submission of false information in asset declarations.
We also see this as an attempt to limit the capacity of National Anti Corruption Bureau, since it responsible for investigation of crimes of declaring false information of assets by top public officials.
We call on the Head of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption N. Korchack and the Head of the Agency for Special Communications L. Evdovchenko to ensure granting IISS certificate for the system of electronic declarations before it is launched on August 15. We emphasize that these agencies now bear full responsibility for effective launch of the system of electronic declarations. We also expect that the system of electronic declarations shall be launched on August 15, 2016 with the IISS certificate.
We call on the President of Ukraine to secure implementation of Ukraine’s commitments before the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on launching the system of electronic declarations and enactment of criminal liability for declaring false information as was previously scheduled.
We also kindly request all international partners of Ukraine to once again inform Ukrainian authorities that breach of these obligations may lead to negative consequences for visa liberalization process with the European Union and further international financial assistance for Ukraine.