Official interpretation of the Law by the National Agency for prevention of corruption will postpone e-declaration for an indefinite period

Who needs enemies with friends like these? Or, Nation-specific fight against corruption.

Official interpretation of the Law by the National Agency for prevention of corruption will postpone e-declaration for an indefinite period

TATIANA IVANOVICH, Counsel and Head of private client practice at “Spenser & Kauffmann” Attorneys at Law, exclusively for «Forbes»

Financial transparency of the officials, with its appearance despite the technical problems and which is still being promised to Ukrainians through implementation of e-declaration system can be nothing more than another pipedream. But this time we should blame not their friends but family members of the declarant. Due to the confusion in terminology, which the National Agency for prevention of corruption was involved in, “experienced bribe takers” can still hide acquired assets.

First appearances can be deceptive

One of the main elements to ensure financial control over the officials, determined by the Law on prevention of corruption, is a submission of electronic declarations. These declarations should contain the information on the Real estate units, construction units in progress, movable valuables, securities and other corporate rights, as well as monetary and intangible assets (f ex. Intellectual rights) owing by the declarant and his family members.

If self-identity of the subject of declaration is clear, the definition of the family members (actually, the majority of corruptionists hide acquired assets through their parents, children and other relatives) will be the main problem in the nearest future: who will be specified and who will not be specified in the declaration.

The Law on prevention of the corruption certainly includes the definition for “family members”. According to this Law (the Article 1) – family members are persons who are married,  their children, including full-aged; parents, persons in custody, other persons, provided that they share the place of residence and have mutual rights and responsibilities (except for those whose mutual rights and responsibilities have no family character) as well as persons who cohabitate but are not in a marriage.

At the first sight, this definition may seem simple, clear and fair (which is also important): the declaration should contain spouses, all relatives as well as persons in cohabitation and those who meet other criteria of the family, even if such a relationship is not officially registered. By the way, the lawyers proceed from this position today. The same opinion had 48 people’s deputies, when on the 30th of December 2015 they have passed an appeal against constitutionality of separated provisions of the Law, insisting that the need to disclose information on these persons violates their right.

However, in practice, if the provision of the Law can be interpreted in their favor, it will be done so. The fact that it was the National Agency for prevention of corruption who decided to interpret in the opposite side of the transparency gives rise to concern, as on the 11th of August the Agency adopted the Order № 3 “On clarification of the application of certain provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On prevention of corruption” concerning financial control measures”.

The full version of the Article can be read here.