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17.12.2012

Officials to get their cut from contentious “biometric” law

   

The website Nashi Hroshi [Our Money] which monitors how the authorities spend taxpayers’ money reports another scandalous aspect of a law already condemned by human rights organizations.  Despite enormous pressure from NGOs to veto the Law on a Unified State Demographic Register, President Yanukovych signed it into force last week.   The objections to this law are outlined in “What now?” and the links below that article.  According to Yury Nikolov from Nashi Hroshi it is not only Vasyl Hrytsak, the Party of the Regions author of the bill and the SSAPS Consortium [the Single State Automated Passport System] which he is linked with who stand to make millions / billions out of this law which requires an entirely unwarranted number of biometric documents from Ukrainian citizens, including the internal “passport” or identity document which everybody must have. 

Yury Nikolov asserts that by signing this law, President Yanukovych has opened the way for officials to pocket large amounts of money which Ukrainians will be forced to pay in “administrative services”.

He says that the point is in three short sentences craftily added to the final provisions of the Law on a Unified State Demographic Register [the Law].  These make changes to Article 2.15; 2.23 and Article 13 § 4 of the Budget Code, with the same words each time “including payment for the provision of administrative services”.

What this means in human language, he explains, is that money for such “services” which was previously considered State revenue will now be carved up between officials.  The amount in question is at present 540 million UAH.  The author cites only this figure, however one of the many concerns over the Law is the number of documents demanded, and it seems likely that the fees will rise considerably)

Nikolov notes that this is less than a year since Mykhailo Brodsky, Head of the State Administration on Deregulation and Development boasted that for the first time in all the years of independence, this money is going into the State coffers.  Brodsky claimed that the days had now gone when ministries or departments created enterprises which then collected fees for themselves.  He even sited SSAPS as an example of such a corrupt setup, and claimed credit to Yanukovych’s team for fighting such corruption.

As reported already, Hrytsak has been pushing for this law for a long time, with presidential vetoes, including one from Yanukovych, stopping it even when it passed through parliament.  It is not clear why President Yanukovych has now given the green light to the law, but it overturns everything Brodsky said.

Not only will the “fees for administrative services” now remain with those extracting them, but State enterprises have now, to boot, been removed from the Law on Public Procurement, meaning a lack of any supervision over what they demand (see: Carte Blanche for corruption receives final go-ahead

Information about the administrative services from the article by Yury Nikolov here

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