This is a joint statement from the international anti–corruption organization Transparency International Ukraine, the anti-corruption group the Reanimation Package of Reform, the Anti-corruption Action Center, the All-Ukrainian Union AutoMaidan, and Bihus.Info
March 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the selection of the NACP management team and the new body’s official launch. Unfortunately, almost immediately after being founded the NACP shut down the e-declaration register’s website, negating its main purpose.
The State Register of Declarations’ website is still not working, which means that the 700,000 to 800,000 persons cannot file their e-declarations. Sadly, failures such as this are not rare, but systemic. Security Service of Ukraine employees have yet to submit their declarations, which is in violation of the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention”. The NACP management team also failed to investigate the falsification of electronic keys for imitation of the e-declarations hack, though it remains their responsibility.
Six months after the first wave of e-declarations, NACP management still has not verified public officials’ declarations. It took three attempts in the agency’s first year to establish and adopt verification procedures. Two months after the adoption of the procedure for the full verification of NACP declarations, NACP reported having initiated the verification of only about thirty high-level officials’ declarations. One year after their establishment, the Agency has failed to create a system for the automatic verification of declarations, nor have they set up methods for other state agencies to verify the declarations. In spite of all this, NACP still provided written testimony on the reliability of data indicated in the declarations of 625 judicial nominees to the Supreme Court of Ukraine. How the NACP provided such testimony to the Supreme Court remains a mystery, since without a verifiable procedure, no truly authentic or trustworthy reports could possibly be generated.
At the same time, NACP has arbitrarily singled out particular declarants and even activists for prosecution. NACP has only launched corruption investigations into People’s Deputy Serhii Leshchenko (for delivering lectures in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) and the former Head of the Odesa Customs Bureau Yuliia Marushevska (for receiving a prize of 500 hryvnias).
While the appropriate response by NACP should be the resignation of Agency members, management awarded itself bonuses between 80,000 and 330,000 hryvnias. Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention” must be implemented to facilitate the necessary changes.
A similar level of responsibility for the failure of the e-declarations process lies with the State owned Ukrainian Special Systems, which administers and supports the Unified Register of e-declarations website. The State enterprise must provide a public explanation for the situation regarding the register. If negligence can be demonstrated, those responsible must be brought to justice.
The political responsibility for ensuring effective management of the register of declarations, the successful completion of the second wave of e-declarations, the verification of the declarations and the prevention of conflicts of interest in the public sphere lies with the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the President.
The Reanimation Package of Reforms calls on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to which NACP is accountable, to immediately consider changing the National Agency on Corruption Prevention’s leadership.
We further urge the Government to introduce amendments to the Law “On Corruption Prevention” for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. These amendments should establish a NACP management structure consolidated into to one person, change the competitive procedure for selecting the NACP Director and promptly launch a new competition to select a new Agency Director.
We call on the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman and the Government to initiate a new competition according to the proposed amendments.
We are ready for a constructive dialogue in order to develop an effective method to select the new NACP Director through a competitive process that engages civil society.