October 8, 2014, Kyiv – A package of anti-corruption laws of the President and the Government should be considered comprehensively, as the draft laws are aimed at creating a fundamentally new system of corruption combating and prevention. These laws are quite revolutionary for Ukraine, however, they have already proven their efficiency in a number of European countries, such as Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Baltic countries. “We do not intend to introduce a know-how, rather to the contrary, we could call a “know-how” the activities presented as “the fight against corruption” during the last years in Ukraine, because they only created an illusion that something is done to combat corruption”, told Viktor Chumak, MP, Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, during the briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to Mr. Chumak, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, a body in charge of combating high-level corruption, will be the first element of the chain. A number of mechanisms are set up to ensure independence of this entity. For example, the former staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Security Service of Ukraine, Prosecutor’s office and police shall not be eligible to work in the Bureau for five years after dismissal from the abovementioned bodies. The Bureau will comprise investigators from other authorities with professional investigative and fact-finding skills, as well as fresh people who will pass appropriate training under highest international standards. In addition to strict competitive selection they will undergo psychological and physical examination and regular checks on a lie detector. The salary of 300 investigators will be at least UAH 18,000, 700 employees are expected to work in the Bureau in Kyiv and 7 regional representative offices. Additional surveillance over Bureau activities will be performed by the Public Control Council authorized to even conduct an external audit of the Bureau. The Chief of Bureau will be appointed by the President upon the submission of the Committee consisting of 9 persons (3 civil society opinion leaders nominated by the Verkhovna Rada, 3 – by the Cabinet of Ministers and another 3 – by the President). The selection process among 3 shortlisted candidates will be held with a live TV broadcasting. The President does not have the right of veto against the Bureau Chief appointment. He will hold the office for 7 years without extension, with a clear and complicated mechanism of dismissal. Thus financial, organizational and political independence of the body is ensured.
There will be 5 separate commissioners authorized to check the state officials’ tax returns. The uniform tax return register of all state officials containing both incomes and expenses will be created and accessible online. Moreover, misrepresentation of information in tax returns will entail criminal liability. “The Committee is going to act as a prevention body, while the Bureau will punish for committed acts of corruption”, Viktor Chumak added.
“Meanwhile, offshore entities with unknown final beneficiary owner will be liquidated, Register of proprietary rights to real estate will be disclosed and adjudication in absentia will become applicable to the persons against from criminal proceedings were initiated for corruption or supporting the terrorism, let me emphasize, this last novelty will be exhaustively limited to these offences”, Mr. Chumak told. All financial accounts of political persons will be subject to control. All these innovations would pave the ground for the new, corruption-free system.