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Saturday, February 24, 2018

The war against corruption in Ukraine: it is necessary to remove the law, prevent steal


This week the Verkhovna Rada may consider a very controversial bill according to which officials will not be held criminally liable for the acquisition or transfer of property, the origin of which they cannot explain. According to the authors, the article 368-2 of the criminal code “illegal enrichment” contains significant deficiencies and does not meet the country’s Basic law. Experts interviewed by “MK” I believe that thus officials try to look for leverage on the anti-corruption court and ways to avoid prison.

photo: tsn.ua

The problem of corruption in Ukraine is widespread. According to research by the auditing company Ernst & Young, last year the country topped the ranking of the most corrupt countries in the EU and the Middle East. The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada regularly accuse each other of bribery, pointing out that corruption in the country fighting for only themselves and no one else. Apparently, in this war, the deputies of the Ukrainian Parliament proposed to amend the criminal code of Ukraine and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law No. 7499 about changing the concept of “illicit enrichment”.

According to the Center for combating corruption (CPC) of Ukraine, the authors of the document were the deputies from the party “Block of Petro Poroshenko” Gennady Chekita and Andrew Sinkovich, as well as their colleagues from party “popular front” Vladislav Danilin and Alexander Kirsch, who later withdrew their signatures. In their opinion, the officials should act on the presumption of innocence, and hence the criminal case should be prosecuted, only if it is proved that the property was acquired illegally. Now the policy can be punished with imprisonment from 2 year to 10 years, if the value of the purchased property does not match the official declared income of his family.

In turn, experts from the CPC believe that the bill No. 7499 completely eliminates liability for bribery and legalizes crime. In the centre are confident that the adoption of this document will lead to the closure of hundreds of high-profile criminal cases.

As reported “MK”, among them the criminal proceedings against the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko, whom the National anti-corruption Bureau has been suspected of illicit enrichment. Will be cleared with the head of the State audit service Lily Gavrilova, which was accused of illicit enrichment in the amount of 1 million UAH and the mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko, against whom a criminal case under article “the Declaration of false information”. If earlier they were threatened with fine and imprisonment, in the case of approval of the bill will be sufficient to prove that the purchase was made official.

It should be noted that criminal liability for illicit enrichment in the Ukraine appeared in 2015, according to the request of the EU, as a condition of granting a visa-free regime for Ukrainians. This pushed the IMF in the preparation of the Memorandum of obligations of the state. And among other things, this document contrary to the General idea of creating the country’s anti-corruption court is one of the most important reforms, which was supported by the representatives of the Venice Commission.

Experts interviewed by “MK”, estimated the chances of a law, as it is unlikely and agree that if you do not develop integrated actions to fight against corruption, the situation in the country will not change.

Vadim Karasev, Director of the Ukrainian Institute of global strategies:

Ukrainian officials want to secure the airbag to have something to trade, in the appointment of the leadership of the anti-corruption court. In addition, it is unknown over what officials make an example of justice, and so they are trying to protect themselves. I suppose it’s only a tactical move around the whole story with the court. Too early to say, this initiative is just the next round, and the ending of this story open. The situation in Ukraine will change only when all the top elite will be replaced by Pro-Western politicians, and it is soon impossible.

Mikhail Pogrebinsky, Director of Kiev center of political researches and conflictology:

– The situation in the country is terrible. It is almost impossible to prove where and how the politicians took the money. It’s either all several times won the lottery, or steal “lawlessness”. Poroshenko understands that, on the one hand, it can put additional pressure on officials, with another – anyone can fall under the threat of investigation NABOO. However, the prospects of the bill is very low, otherwise they will lose all of the agreements with the EU. The corruption situation in the country will never change. In any case, members will find loopholes in the law to enrich themselves.

Oleg Bondarenko, Director of the progressive policy:

– In Ukraine there is a struggle with corruption and its manifestations — this is war with windmills. You need to improve the whole system. First, determine the revenue officials.. Significantly reduce the managerial state apparatus. In addition, you need a single system that is fighting such crimes, now in Ukraine 5-6 of these organizations that are fighting with themselves. I do not think that these amendments there is a special evil intent, rather they want to make the bill more effective.

Ukrainian crisis. Chronicle of events

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