Anti-corruption draft law needs refining
The Head of the contact group in Ukraine for Transparency International, Oleksiy Khmara has spoken in an interview to Deutsche Welle of the need to rework the anti-corruption draft law tabled in parliament.
Oleksiy Khmara believes that the draft law on fighting bribe-taking which President Yanukovych presented to Ukraine’s parliament scarcely differs from the anti-corruption law of Viktor Yushchenko previously revoked. Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn has recently stated that adoption of this draft law should be expected at the beginning of March.
Khmara sees one of the reasons for the replacement of one draft law by another as being Yanukovych’s wish to go down in history as fighter against corruption. He is critical of the procrastination with the adoption of the law since in this way the old problems continue, these being lack of transparency of the authorities, misappropriation and lack of accountability to the public.
500 amendments and comments
Khmara also pointed out the introduction in the new draft law of norms on single-handed control by the President over the entire anti-corruption system. He does not exclude the possibility that this point could be used by the Head of State to exert decisive influence on those in power from local to the highest level.
The representative of Transparency International in Ukraine says that there are over 500 amendments and comments to the draft law. Yet the deputies of the profile committee, loyal to the present regime, have left these without consideration. “In the version from Yanukovych and parliamentarians from the Party of the Regions, the law is indeed ready. If one were to speak of a harmonized document, then it requires painstaking work by deputies from the profile committee”.
Among the proposed amendments, he says, are efforts to restrict the President’s influence, reinstate the norm on declaring income and property by members of public officials’ families. The provisions on sanctions for corruption acts of legal entities should also be reinstated.
The opposition has almost no chance
However in view of the total control over legislative activity of the “ruling majority headed by President Yanukovych”, Khmara predicts that the opposition will not be able to get through more than a fifth of the proposed amendments during the article by article vote. And even these amendments, he expects, “will probably be of a technical nature”.
Khmara explains the effective sabotage of the analysis of Yanukovych’s anti-corruption draft law in the profile committee as being due to the convenient position presently held by those involved in corrupt dealings. After all, since 1 January this year, Ukraine has no normative document imposing liability for bribe-taking. This he explains is due to the revoking of the old anti-corruption law from 1995.
(As reported here (cf. the links below) the anti-corruption legislation due to come into force finally on 1 January 2011 was revoked supposedly because of the President’s new draft. GRECO has already warned that Ukraine faces seriously negative consequences from GRECO following the scrapping of all anti-corruption legislation, the Government Ombudsperson and Bureau on Anti-Corruption Policy, with no indication of when any alternative measures will be passed)