The tradition of giving gifts to officials for the New Year or Christmas has survived in Ukraine to this day. Officials sometimes find expensive cars, apartments, and high-end watches under their tree. The list goes on and on.
What can officials actually receive to stay within the law?
A gift is defined as money or other property, benefits, services, intangible assets, which are provided/received for free or at a price which is below the minimum market level (the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention,” Art. 1, part 1). This means that business gifts within the monetary limits set by law are possible, so the main thing is to be able to give them to officials without violating the law. Therefore, if you decide to present a souvenir, follow the instructions.
Instructions for a gift that will not be a violation:
- Price of the gift
You can give a one-time gift whose price does not exceed UAH 2,270 (subsistence minimum for able-bodied persons as of December 1, 2020). And the total amount of gifts from one person in a year should not exceed UAH 4,204, i.e. two subsistence minimums as of January 1, 2020 — the year when the gift was received.
Please note: a business gift must comply with generally accepted notions of hospitality. Officials (or their relatives) may not receive gifts in connection with their performance of state or local government functions.
- Who gives a gift?
Restrictions on the value of a gift are removed if it is given by close family members. Under the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention,” close family members include husband, wife, father, mother, stepfather, stemother, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, first cousin, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, great-grandson, great-granddaughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, parents of the son-in-law or daughter-in-law, foster parents or children, caretakers and persons being taken care of, as well as family members:
- a) a person who is married to the official and children of the official under the age of 18 regardless of cohabitation;
- b) any persons living together in the same household, with mutual rights and obligations in relation to the official (excluding family ties), including persons who live together but are not married;
Please note: business gifts can NOT be received from subordinates!
- Form of the gift
A gift in the form of public discounts on goods, services, public winnings, prizes, awards, bonuses are not subject to restriction.
Penalties for non-compliance with the above rules:
Officials receive an administrative fine of UAH 1,700 to UAH 3,400 with confiscation of the gift. If this action is committed repeatedly during the year, the official will pay a fine of UAH 3,400 to UAH 6,800 with confiscation of the gift (donation) and deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of one year.
Officials should remember:
1) Receiving any gift should not affect the objectivity or impartiality of the person’s decision-making or incite them to commit a wrongdoing;
2) In addition, decisions made by an official in favor of the person from whom the official or their relatives relatives received a gift are considered to have been made in a conflict of interest, and these decisions are subject to Article 67 of the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention”; i.e. such a decision may be ruled invalid.
3) A gift may not be demanded, asked for or received through other persons under certain conditions.
Follow these instructions so that the corrupt Grinch does not steal your Christmas!
We are thankful to our intern Anastasia Krasnovyd for writing this article.
This publication was created by Transparency International Ukraine as part of its project implemented under the USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Pact and its implementing partners and do not necessary reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.