NGOs present President with proposals to improve Public Procurement amendments
At the last meeting of the National Anti-Corruption Committee President Yanukovych acknowledged that the amendments to the tender legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada on 17 May carry the danger of corruption and open up new opportunities for raking in money during public procurement. However Oleksy Khmara, member of the National Anti-Corruption Committee and President of TORO, Transparency International’s Ukrainian partner, points out that the President did not say whether or not he plans to sign the law. “From the general rhetoric it is clear that the President cannot sign a law which he himself acknowledges carries the risk of corruption. For this reason we have passed Viktor Yanukovych the proposals from civic experts on reworking the tender draft Law No. 7532.”
The proposals, he explained, were prepared by a group of specialists from the partnership “For Honest Public Procurement in Ukraine”, New Citizen and the Public Expert Council under the Ukrainian Section of the Committee on Cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. They were handed to the President during the above-mentioned meeting of the Committee.
The experts believe that the draft law was adopted with infringements of the Verkhovna Rada Regulations since the final adoption took place without proper reworking of the comments from National Deputies and the Central Legal Department of the Verkhovna Rada Office. It should therefore undergo an anti-corruption assessment by the Ministry of Justice and then be sent back to the Verkhovna Rada for further reworking.
Oleksy Khmara praised the fact that the anti-corruption Laws On the Principles of Preventing and Countering Corruption and On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts on Liability for Corrupt Offences, as well as the intentions stated. From 1 July 2011 the new legislation will come into force, and from 1 January 2012 there will be a special check of candidates for the post of civil servant, as well as mandatory declaration of income and expenditure by officials. This, however, envisages only expenditure above 150 thousand UAH.
He said, however, that the criterion for success in fulfilling these intentions regarding fighting corruption must be the formation which the President has promised of a register of high-profile crimes and criminals where this is a danger of corruption. “If this register is really created and is full, if everybody sees that there are many leaders from those presently in power, then I’m for the President’s proposal, for all knowing them and for them paying for this. But if it applies only to two or three parties presently in the majority in parliament, then these are simply political games.”
At the end of May the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that Ukraine had failed with its anti-corruption plan. They estimated that Ukraine had only fully fulfilled one of 24 anti-corruption recommendations.