Public servants will begin declaring income and expenditure no earlier than 2012
Adoption of the President’s anti-corruption draft law, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. This is while it is envisaged that the document will come into force on 1 July. The newspaper Kommersant – Ukraine reports that this became clear during Tuesday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption. The meeting also approved a draft declaration on income and expenditure for officials which public servants will, however, only begin filling out from 2012.
Only one issue was submitted to the Committee’s meeting on Tuesday, that being discussion of the amendments to Articles 1, 11 and 12, as well as the Transitional Provisions of the Draft Law “On the fundamental principles for countering corruption in Ukraine”, no. 7487.
As reported, on 15 March the Verkhovna Rada passed in its second reading the draft law submitted by the President “On the fundamental principles for countering corruption in Ukraine”, no. 7487, but excluded a number of key norms sent back for a repeat second reading. These were: Article 1: Definition of terms; Article 11: Special check of people who are applying for posts linked with carrying out functions of State; and Article 12: “Financial control”, as well as the Transitional Provisions.
On 4 April during a meeting of the coordinating council, the members of factions in the parliamentary majority expressed confidence that the draft law would be passed on 7 April.
This comes after the previous anti-corruption package was revoked in December just before it was due to finally come into effect because of the President’s proposed version.
Deputy Ivan Vernidubov from the Party of the Regions informed that the working group had studied 78 amendments to the articles sent back for a new second reading. He also said that the Deputies had created a drat declaration on income and expenditure which was the key norm for Article 12 on Financial Control. He noted that the Ministry of Justice had prepared their draft, but that the working group was suggesting that their version was approved.
Chair of the Committee, Valery Bevs from the Communist Party said that the difference between the versions is that the Ministry of Justice’s version does not entail members of officials’ families filling in declarations while the Committee’s one has both officials and their families filling them out.
Bevs went on to explain the working group’s proposals for when the law and specific clauses will come into force. “After the law is adopted in full, it is proposed that it comes into force from 1 July. The exception should be the Article on Financial Control. It would be illogical to break up the year and demand filling in declarations for the period when the law was not in effect”, he asserted. “From 1 January 2012 the law will come into force fully, and public servants will be able to fill in their declarations up till 1 April.”
Representing the Ministry of Justice, Valeria Lutkovska said that while the draft declaration, offered by the working group was on the whole correct, in the Ministry’s version they proposed adding to the declaration aspects linked not only with officials’ own property, but with that in their use. Otherwise, she explained, everything that an official rents, slips out of view of the controlling bodies. She added that the Cabinet of Ministers needed to be instructed to draw up instructions on filling in the declarations.
A majority voted for the version produced by the working group.
Kommersant-Ukraine says that it has a copy of the draft Declaration. According to it, the person and his or her close family must indicate, among other things, their average monthly pay; the general total income for the year; as well as means received from abroad. They must also give information about any real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, securities or other assets, as well as financial obligations, including “voluntary insurance, non-State pension provision, maintenance of property, repayment of the main loan and a loan agreement.
Aside from the fact that relatives must also fill in declarations, the key innovation is the requirement for mandatory declaration of expenditure exceeding the average salary of the official. However this requirement covers only public servants and not their relatives.