The opening of proprietorship registers to enhance businesses and citizens’ protection against corruption – MPs, Civic Activists

The opening of proprietorship registers to enhance businesses and citizens’ protection against corruption – MPs, Civic Activists
July 15, 2015.

Kyiv, July 15, 2015. In Ukraine, the opening of proprietorship registers will become an effective tool in the fight against corruption, and protect businesses from raider attacks, emphasized Leonid Kozachenko, MP, and public activist Denys Bigus, author of the anti-corruption program “Our Money,” during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center as part of the Ukraine Reforms Communication Taskforce project.

On July 14, 2015, the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the bill No.2423 on transparency enhancement and corruption prevention in property relations, which provides open public access to property registers, as well as to the land cadastre. Once enacted by the President of Ukraine, the law will allow asset ownership information in Ukraine to be searched by the owner’s name. Relevant information will be provided upon request, its processing will require mandatory registration, and processing will be exercised on a fee-paid basis. The right to personal data protection will be maintained: real estate data will contain only the information about the region where a flat, house or land is located, its area and the date of purchase. For example, the data on a car will include the make, year of manufacture and engine capacity, but not the license plate.

The press briefing participants emphasized that such transparency of proprietorship registers is typical in many developed countries, and has proven its effectiveness in the fight against corruption. Bigus is convinced that this will also happen in Ukraine. “With the adoption of this bill, we will have an opportunity to compare the declared assets of officials with what they possess in practice. At the end of the year, this may result in a number of high-profile investigations, in dismissals, and sometimes, perhaps, in stricter liability,” said Denys Bigus.

Kozachenko predicted that the bill on proprietorship transparency is going to come into full effect by the December 1, 2015. He also ruled out the possibility of its sabotage by public authorities. “There was some resistance at the beginning. But thanks to the coordinated work of civil society and the IT-community who volunteered to provide all necessary support for the opening of the registers, we eventually received support from the Ministry of Justice. The Minister has even publically stated that he will support this initiative. Therefore, I believe that the law will work,” said Leonid Kozachenko.

Summarizing, Taras Kachka, head of Ukraine Reforms Communication Taskforce, said that the adoption of the bill actually meets society’s demand for a certain level of transparency and trust. “This is an example of reforms where simple but effective steps can lead to serious structural changes. From the perspective of realizing these changes, transparency and honesty are often more effective for building trust and justice than the establishment of new, quality institutions,” said Kachka.

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