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Parliament fights corruption in its second reading

04.03.2011    source:
The issue of who is considered a close relative has thus far caused most dissent among parliamentarians considering the President’s draft bill which caused fundamental anti-corruption legislation finally due to come force on 1 January to be revoked

Who should be considered a close relative was the question that caused the most controversy between Ukraine’s National Deputies [MP] during their consideration of the law on fighting corruption. After its first reading, this draft law proposed by President Yanukovych, received over 400 corrections.  On Thursday evening, however, parliament managed to consider only 9 articles and 120 corrections.

According to Arseny Yatsenyuk (leader of the opposition Front for Change) “”They’ve excluded from this law all the relatives that public officials have basically signed all their property to. This is not a fight against corruption, but an imitation of fighting corruption”.

In response, the Party of the Regions place in doubt the possibility of holding to answer those relatives of officials who live apart from them. The article defining the list of close relatives was sent for a third reading.

The Deputies are scheduled to return to considering the corrections on Friday.

During his recent “Conversation with the country”, when asked whether amendments needed to be made on relatives’ declaration of income, the President answered that they did.

As reported, the laws due finally, after being deferred three times, to come into force on 1 January 2011, were revoked in order to make way for the President’s draft law.

President Yanukovych asserts that the fight with corruption has already begun and cites the initiating of 3 thousand criminal investigations into corruption as evidence, saying that this is far more than in previous years.  His political opponents however perceive persecution and political repression in such acts by the regime.

When parliament voted on whether to adopt the President’s draft law as a base, not one BYuT Deputy (bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko) voted for it.  According to Serhiy Sobolyev from BYuT, there are three fundamental amendments to the President’s draft law. There is no liability for legal entities; no requirement to submit declarations not only of income, but also on outgoings of members of the family of government officials, high-ranking public officials and deputies. He considers this a way of avoiding real declaration of income of the highest-ranking officials. There are also, he adds, a whole range of articles which now make it easier to prosecute a teacher for giving extra lessons than the highest officials.

From a report on the BBC Ukrainian Service

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