The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyisigned the law “On amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on ensuring the effectiveness of the institutional mechanism for corruption prevention”. This is one of the most important anti-corruption laws that restarts the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP). Important changes are also appliedregarding asset declarations of the leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine and other law enforcement officials.
From now on, all the SBU’s officials, other law enforcement officials and intelligence officials, who are appointed by public acts of the President or the Verkhovna Rada, must submit open asset declarations.
In fact, the law dismisses current leadership of the NACP and changes the management model of the body, namely, from collegial to one-person management.
The law goes into effect within one week. This means that the government should hold the competition regarding the election of the new head within next two months.
We should note that the selection panel will consist of six persons appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers. Three of them should be international experts, recommended to the government by donors of Ukraine in the sphere of fighting against corruption. Prior to the election of the new head, the agency will be managed by government-appointed acting head.
“The Verkhovna Rada fulfilled its duty. And now, the agency’sfate and the verification of officials’ declarations depends on the government and the selection panel“, comments the Board Member of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Olena Shcherban.
The law also contains rules that now make it impossible to hideasset declarations of the leadership of the SBU and other law enforcement agencies. That means that declarations of ordinary intelligence-gathering officers, who conduct important secret tasks, may continue to be closed. But the law points to the impossibility of closing declarations of the public leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine, intelligence officials and other law enforcement officials.
“From now on, the leadership of the SBU are obliged to submit open declarations and announcements about changes of their financial status. Any attempts to avoid the implementation of these norms by current leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine will mean the direct disregard of the law and the will of the President, who appoints this leadership”, adds Olena Shcherban.
We should remind that during almost three years the Anti-Corruption Action Center sought to open declarations of the leadership of the SBU in courts. Today, public officials of the SBU will not be able to hide their multimillion-dollar assets any more.
Earlier, the classification of declarations of the SBU’s officialsallowed former first deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Serhiy Semochko to hide information about his assets. Journalists found only real estate worth more than 8 millionUSD.
The scandalous former first deputy head of the SBU PavloDemchyna, who was even the subject of the NABU’s investigation, also avoided the submission of declarations. The NABU was investigating the criminal proceeding regarding Demchyna’s illicit enrichment.
We should recall that in September 2016, the NACP launchedthe electronic declaration system. But it failed to agree on the procedure for submitting information and further verification of declarations of officials whose positions are state secrets.