Last year, the NACP applied the procedure for monitoring the lifestyle of officials for the first time. However, both last year and today we are left with a number of questions.
What exactly is monitored within this mechanism? As I’ve mentioned earlier, the purpose of lifestyle monitoring is to determine whether the standard of living of declarants is in compliance with their and their family members’ property, and whether their income corresponds to the e-declaration.
However, we cannot make out what NACP specialists should exactly analyze because the legislation does not provide definitions of “lifestyle,” “standard of living,” “compliance with the standard of living,” etc. And such terminology would be appropriate when comparing the declared property and income with the realities of life of the declarant and their loved ones.
Another logical question arises: according to which legal basis should lifestyle be monitored? How can the content and consequences of this procedure be affected by the fact that the NACP has adopted methodological recommendations for its implementation? This question appears because the law envisages that “The procedure for monitoring the lifestyle of the declarants is determined by the NACP.” And it was the Procedure for Monitoring the Lifestyle of NACP’s Own Employees that the NACP approved last December.
Another question, which causes a lot of discussion: what is the difference between lifestyle monitoring and full declaration verification? Do they have different triggers? These two procedures should not duplicate each other because they are conducted using the same methods, namely, “office” work.
And there are more and more of these questions.
What will the selectivity of lifestyle monitoring, established by law, consist in?
Only in the fact that not everybody’s standard of living is checked?
Is it possible to develop this condition by introducing prioritization or random selection of declaring entities for monitoring?
Does the law envisage the automatic distribution of such checks among various NACP employees? After all, in such an important issue, conflicts of interest should be avoided.
Another conceptual question: for how long should such monitoring be extended? Also, how much authority should an employee of the NACP use when conducting it? As we all know, excessive interference with the right to privacy and family life is prohibited by law.
The last one: what and when should happen as a result of lifestyle monitoring? It is necessary to distinguish when it can lead to a full verification of the official’s declaration, and when, to informing, for example, the NABU about the revealed signs of a corruption offense.
On April 29, during our presentation of the Lifestyle Monitoring study, we will do our best to answer some of these questions. Moreover, based on the results of this work, we have also developed 15 recommendations that will turn this new tool into something powerful, effective and understandable for all the Ukrainians who, by the way, pay for this procedure from their taxes.
And it seems we’ll soon find out whether corrupt officials should be afraid of this means of financial control.