On June 10, the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Parliament supported alternative draft law on the amendments concerning the performance of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency No. 3351-1.
Despite certain provisions. TI Ukraine overall positively assesses this initiative and urges MPs to support it in the first reading.
After the law is passed, the ARMA will become a participant of the criminal proceeding and will be involved in the preparation of property for management. This kind of “planning” will provide for more efficient and rapid management of seized assets.
People involved in criminal proceedings will have a harder time blocking the ARMA’s work using questionable court decisions.
In addition, the amendments will help to engage the best bidding organizers and increase the demand for assets, which will render assets sales more profitable. This section is important both for asset owners and for the budget. Depending on the final court decision on the case, the property will be either returned to the owner or withdrawn in favor of the national budget.
“We hope that between the first and the second reading, the Committee will consider our recommendations. This will significantly improve the Agency’s work. For instance, we insist that the law should also include guarantees for asset buyers. All Agency cases are sensitive and carry a certain risk. To make property sales more efficient and increase public interest in buying such assets, there should be guarantees. The buyer should understand that after he or she buys property, it will not be taken away in favor of the previous owner,” says TI Ukraine’s Head of Legal Kateryna Ryzhenko.
The authors of the draft law have not provided for an opportunity to consider asset transfer to the ARMA without the participation of the owner if there is a risk that the property will be destroyed or disposed of. The mandatory notification of the owner concerning the possible transfer of assets under the management of the ARMA may lead to disposal, destruction or transformation of the asset.
The third recommendation is about the fact that the total minimum cost of assets transferred to the ARMA is increased almost twice, to 500 minimum living wages, which is UAH 1,013,500 as of January 1, 2020. TI Ukraine does not approve of this change, since it will enable corrupt officials to freely use their property that costs under UAH 1 million. In addition, this will make it easier for owners of property derived from corruption to avoid transfer of their assets to the ARMA by underestimating it.