NACP still unable to verify officials’ asset declarations
Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) is still unable to verify the income and asset declarations of officials, despite the reopening of access to the register of asset declarations, as the agency is deprived of such powers due to a Constitutional Court ruling of October 27, the NACP has reported on its Facebook page.
“On October 28, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) closed access to the unified state register of asset declarations, complying with a ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU). After a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council and the relevant government decision, access to the register was reopened. However, the NACP is still unable to verify officials’ declarations. Hundreds of dishonest officials will avoid responsibility,” the report reads.
The NACP said that electronic income declaration is not the only thing that has stopped as a result of the CCU ruling.
“The whole anti-corruption system is under threat. The court’s decision has called into question the verification of political parties’ reports, which is especially important after the election process. In addition, it has stopped mechanisms for exposing conflicts of interest in officials, detecting corruption at state-owned enterprises, and the work of corruption whistleblowers. This is not the whole list,” the agency said.
According to the NACP, since the spring of 2020, the agency has found inaccurate information in the income and asset declarations of officials for UAH 497 million.
“This would not have happened if the NACP did not have the authority to store, verify and publish the declarations of officials, as well as access to all the registers needed for verification,” the anti-corruption agency said.
On October 27, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional Article 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine that provides for punishment for inaccurate declaration of assets. In particular, the article establishes liability in the form of a fine or imprisonment for the submission by subjects of declaration of deliberately inaccurate information in the asset declarations of persons authorized to perform the functions of the state or local government.
On October 28, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) closed access to the unified state register of asset declarations in pursuance of a ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The NACP stated that Constitutional Court judges had made this decision in their own interests as the agency found signs of some of them declaring inaccurate information.
On October 29, President Volodymyr Zelensky held an urgent closed-door meeting of the National Security and Defense Council to determine measures for the immediate proper response of the state to new threats and challenges to national security and defense.
On October 30, Zelensky tabled in the Verkhovna Rada the bill “On Renewal of Confidence in Constitutional Judiciary,” which proposes to terminate the powers of judges of the Constitutional Court, declare its ruling on asset declarations “null and void” and repeal the relevant amendments the law “On Corruption Prevention.”
In addition, it is envisaged that the powers of the composition of the Constitutional Court will be terminated from the date of entry into force of this law.
On November 1, the NACP responded to a statement by President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio and President of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) Marin Mrcela who sent a letter to Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmytro Razumkov on October 31.
In their letter, Buquicchio and Mrcela warned Ukraine against violating the Constitution during the adoption of a presidential bill that proposes terminating the powers of all judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
The NACP stressed that when deciding on the rapid recovery of the anti-corruption system, all the stakeholders should consider that it is not possible to provide it if the CCU’s ruling remains unchanged.