Lifestyle monitoring is a new procedure for Ukraine, although it was introduced in 2014. Such a revision shows whether the standard of living of the declarants corresponds to their property according to the e-declaration.
Monitoring the lifestyle of e-declarants is a new procedure for Ukraine, although it was introduced in 2014. The purpose of such monitoring is to establish whether the standard of living of the declarants corresponds to the property they and their family members own, and whether their income is in accordance with the e-declaration.
In fact, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention started to check officials’ lifestyle only a year ago. And that did not last long, because in October, the Constitutional Court declared such a measure of financial control unconstitutional, as well as the verification of officials’ declarations despite the fact that such monitoring did not contain any signs of operative-search or investigative activity.
In fact, last year’s monitoring was a documentary “office” check of the declarant’s assets, income, and expenses to find out whether their standard of living was inconsistent with the declared property. And the consequences of this could be either a full verification of the declaration, or informing about the signs of corruption, for example, the NABU or the National Police with relevant statements.
The “rebooted” NACP did not have time to conduct a lot of monitoring. And the past, the collegial one, did not conduct any at all. After all, they had no basis; back then the Ministry of Justice refused to register the relevant bylaw. Last year, this monitoring was also regulated without the involvement of the Ministry of Justice. Instead of the procedure registered by the Ministry, the NACP head in his resolution approved the methodological recommendations for monitoring.
It is because of such incidents that we at TI Ukraine decided to analyze last year’s first attempts by the NACP to apply the mechanism of lifestyle monitoring in practice. After all, now, after restoration of legal powers, the NACP is forced to use this tool from scratch. And the first step will be the approval of a new internal document on such a procedure.
To help the NACP build a proper foundation for lifestyle monitoring, we also studied the international experience of conducting such verifications. By the way, there are only few countries where it is implemented. And that is why there are no established world standards for monitoring the lifestyle of officials.
On top of that, we examined national case history, together with the cases of the European Court of Human Rights. The lifestyle can contain elements of private life, which should be interfered with very carefully, so as not to violate one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Indeed, if the person involved in future low-quality monitoring, which was financed by taxpayers, will be able to sue us for money for violating his right to privacy, it will look bad.
The government must comply with the law on personal data protection. In particular, excessive interference with the right to privacy and family life of a person should not be allowed. By the way, Ukrainians, who finance such processes with their taxes, did not know exactly how the monitoring was carried out before its abolition by the Constitutional Court. The NACP simply did not publish the relevant document, and the reasons for such secrecy are still unknown to us.
We will present the results of our research at the end of April. Proper functioning of lifestyle monitoring as a financial supervision measure is an important condition for achieving a high level of effectiveness in corruption prevention as well as general openness and legality of all the NACP’s activity. After all, it wouldn’t be possible to prevent illegal corruption by illegal means, would it?