According to summer surveys, the ability to implement changes and put the country in order are the main filters for Ukrainians at parliamentary elections. At the same time, one in five people is interested in the ability of the political party to fight against corruption. Ukrainians effectively view anti-corruption activity as an inherent component of the entire process of systemic, irrevocable changes.
On 29 August, the Parliament will hold its first meeting. What should the new Verkhovna Rada do as soon as possible to meet the societal demand for reforms and justice?
The first priority is to make amendments to the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court, which will “save” the HACC from being overwhelmed with old cases. These changes should ideally come into effect by 5 September, when the HACC will start accepting proceedings from the NABU and the SAPO. Under the current law, the 38 judges may receive thousands of old corruption-related cases that have been accumulating in Ukrainian courts under all 23 possible counts of the Criminal Code.
We insist on systemic changes to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. Despite the noticeable improvement in cooperation between the NABU and the SAPO, the public has not forgotten the “fish tank” scandal and the blow it delivered to the reputation of the SAPO. A draft law should be adopted which would ensure selection of the head of the SAPO under a new procedure, reinforce the procedural status of the SAPO head and deputy head and transform the SAPO into a separate legal entity with the same authority as a regional prosecution.
The priorities also include a reboot of the National Agency for Corruption Prevention. Transparency International Ukraine insists that the Agency should do away with collegiate decision-making, that the head should be chosen at an open competition and that there should be external audit. The head of the NACP who has all the authority over the Agency would not only have the right to allocate financial and human resources as needed but also be liable for the results of the Agency’s work.
Currently, a discussion is underway on the definitions that should be included in the law on whistleblowers. The global experience shows that it is important to speak not only about corruption-related violations, but also about human rights, ecology, food quality, etc. The law should be broadly applicable, including both the public and the private sectors. Besides, the draft law should be consistent with international standards and approved by national and international experts.
Strengthening the capacity of anti-corruption agencies will be possible by passing new draft laws and amending current laws. Restoring the liability for illicit enrichment and introducing civil forfeiture are the tools that will increase pressure on corrupt officials in office.
Ten Anti-Corruption Priorities
- reboot the NACP
- really update the judiciary
- continue the reform of public procurement
- make ProZorro.Sale e-auctions mandatory
- make systemic changes in the SAPO
- adopt amendments to the Law on the High Anti-Corruption Court
- cancel “Lozovyi’s amendments”
- adopt a law on protection of whistleblowers
- restore the liability for illicit enrichment
TI Ukraine urges the new Verkhovna Rada to repeal the so-called Lozovyi’s amendments and other amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code that further complicate investigation of corruption schemes.
For a second year now, amendments to the law on the ARMA have been traveling from one ministry to another — amendments that could resolve certain critical issues around work with seized assets. First and foremost, the Agency should be made a full-fledged participant of the criminal and judicial proceeding and have simplified access to a greater number of databases and registers.
Together with our partners from the third sector, TI Ukraine supports true reboot of the judicial branch. We understand that it will only be possible after the reboot of the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the High Council of Justice. The HQCJ and the HCJ should include professional lawyers and representatives of professional civil society organizations. Verification of integrity and professional ethics should be assigned to international experts, who have already proven their worth in the recruitment process for the High Anti-Corruption Court.
To reduce the level of corruption, it is equally important to continue the public procurement reform. Public procurement should be harmonized with the EU standards as much as possible. TI Ukraine has taken part in development of the respective draft law. We support the need for change in the approach to disputing tenders, the increased liability for violations. Procurement should become more professional. For instance, there should be special authorized individuals in public agencies who would take over the functions previously performed by the tender committee.
The new Parliament should also introduce mandatory e-auctions and the functionality of the ProZorro.Sale system for lease of community-owned property. To do this, a new version of the law on the lease of national and municipal property should be passed. It is also necessary to use electronic auctions for sales of land. To do it, changes should be made to the Land Code of Ukraine, with a mandatory mechanism of electronic auctions in this sphere.
Transparency International Ukraine (TI Ukraine) is an accredited chapter of the global movement Transparency International, taking a comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of reforms to reduce corruption. TI Ukraine has administered and provided the government such electronic systems as ProZorro, ProZorro.Sale, eHealth, and E-Data. Our other ongoing projects include the Transparent Cities Ranking and development of the DOZORRO community for control over public procurement.
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The first priority is to make amendments to the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court, which will “save” the HACC from being overwhelmed with old cases. These changes should ideally come into effect by 5 September, when the HACC will start accepting proceedings from the NABU and the SAPO.