Ukrainian Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Andriy Parybiy and Anticorruption Action Center appeal to the MPs not to support the changes in the anticorruption bills to be voted today
Verkhovna Rada is trying to change visa-free laws in a way to protect corruption property from arrests and confiscation, states Pavlo Petrenko in his open statement published today on the website of the Ministry of Justice.
There is an attempt to change the essence of the two most important bills, which are to be passed by the Verkhovna Rada in the framework of the visa liberalization plan, in a way to protect corruption property from arrests and confiscation.
Namely, those are bills to improve special confiscation (№2541а) and arrest of the proceeds of corruption and other criminal actions (2540а).
Norms envisaged by the above mentioned bills were developed based on the European standards and were totally neglected by the MPs amendments during the Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement Action.
As a result, MPs to be asked to vote for bills that lost their initial goal of harmonizing the Ukrainian law with European one and to simplify the recovery of proceeds from crimes.
The actions above will endanger visa liberalization between Ukraine and the EU and will completely block the possibility to arrest or confiscate any assets in this country.
The bills were designed by experts from the Ministry of Justice together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European experts. The bills were in complete correspondence with the EU standards before it came to the Committee.
However, the Committee totally distorted and changed the essence of the bills on arrest and special confiscation, which now have nothing in common with the EU standards and norms and with bills voted in the first reading. For example, the Committee approved 20 amendments to one article of the bill, which changed the concept and essence of the bill and affected the current regime of property seizure and confiscation.
The wording of the bills of the Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement Action softens the already light confiscation regime in Ukraine.
High level officials who are under the EU sanctions, who were given notification of suspicion and their property was seized in Ukraine, will now benefit from the laws in such a way as to return arrested property (as the criminal law can be retroactive if it mitigates punishment).
The Head of the Board of the Anticorruption Action Center Vitaliy Shabunin also states in his blog that changes made to the Bills the day before voting in the Parliament will made it impossible to confiscate anything in this country.
He also mentions that if the MPs support the bill with lobbyist changes Yanukovych and his associates will be able to get back all the arrested property abroad. He blames Yulia Tymoshenko for these changes into the draft bills since all of them were passed by the MPs from her party.
The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Andriy Parubiy claims today to be the last battle for the visa-free laws and says that the anticorruption bills to improve special confiscation (№2541а) and arrest of the proceeds of corruption and other criminal actions (2540а) will be the key ones to be voted by the Parliament today.