Parliament starts implementation of the EU anti-corruption commitments, but with threats to NABU
AntAC welcomes asset recovery legislative initiatives, which were introduced in parliament by the President of Ukraine. Simultaneously, AntAC warns on serious threats to online asset declarations regime and independence of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecution, hidden in other legislative initiatives to be considered by the parliament the following week.
Specifically, the President has initiated draft law #4055, which gives right to the Prosecutor General to reject twice appointment to the position of head and deputy heads of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecution (SAP) of a candidate, chosen by the independent selection commission. Such a power given to the Prosecutor General might jeopardize key positive developments concerning setting up of the National Anti-corruption Bureau jointly with the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecution Service.
Another threat is lying in failure to ensure online operative asset declarations regime for authorities already in 2016. In late December last year parliament passed a scandalous clause, which postponed online asset declaration system till 2017.
Parliament attempts to resolve this problem by draft law #3755, which will simply cancel the postponement, but will not introduce effective asset declarations regime in 2016. Senior state officials already had plenty of time to manipulate the system, hide assets and submit asset declarations of 2015 in old form. Such a form can’t be analyzed electronically and it doesn’t require declaring all assets (both physical and cash), all relatives’ assets (including extended family), and declaring involvement in any private entity, including the creation or involvement in an intermediary entity.
Therefore, the only solution to have functional and effective online asset declarations system is to pass a law obliging state officials to resubmit electronic asset declarations in a new form in 2016.
Asset declarations in the new form provided online are extremely essential to the work of the NABU, which can investigate lie in asset declarations and failure to provide information in asset declarations by senior state officials, as well as illicit enrichment.
Among positive legislative developments are the Presidential draft laws #4056 and #4054, which will improve seizure and confiscation of proceeds of crime, and empower the National Agency on Tracing and Management of Seized and Confiscated Assets with strong functions of management and guarantees of independence. These draft laws will repair significant loopholes in asset seizure and confiscation regime introduced by the parliament back in November 2015.
All laws mentioned above are to be considered by the parliament as implementation of anti-corruption commitments within visa liberalization plan and anti-corruption requirements of IMF.