Now it is time to verify the declarations made by top officials and the origin of their declared assets
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement and its partner in Ukraine, welcome the completion of the first step in providing the Ukrainian people with a public electronic register of the assets of politicians and senior civil servants, including those of President Petro Poroshenko.
Transparency International now calls for the declarations and the origin of the declared assets to be verified, and welcomes President Poroshenko’s commitment in this regard.
“President Poroshenko has kept his promise to introduce an asset register and to declare his own wealth. This is a major achievement and a good step for delivering on needed anti-corruption reforms. Ukraine now needs to empower the anti-corruption authorities and provide them with resources to investigate and hold to account those who have enriched themselves illegally,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
The first tranche of assets made public surprised Ukrainians who saw how many public officials owned large amounts of wealth, including artworks, jewellery and fancy cars, as well as luxury property. Now the challenge for the anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine is to effectively distinguish between legally acquired and corrupt wealth in order for Ukrainians to continue believing in the fight against corruption.
Transparency International calls on the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) to work closely with Ukrainian citizens and journalists to check the declarations of public officials and the origins of their declared assets if their lifestyles do not conform to their reported incomes.
“We are also waiting for the State to verify the information in the filed declarations and reports. Public officials who made false declarations or are found to have illicit wealth must be brought to justice,” said Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the Executive Director of TI Ukraine, Transparency International’s partner in the country.
E-declarations, however, are only one instrument for exposing potential corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) must follow through with investigations into the origin of declared income using all the tools at its disposal, including court approved autonomous wiretapping. The NACP must also be able to demonstrate intent by officials for cases to be successful.
Finally an independent Anti-Corruption Court must be established as soon as possible, with active participation and support of international experts. The court would have the specific mandate to end impunity of corrupt officials and to pursue cases of corrupt officials in a timely fashion. This would support the judicial reform launched on 30 September 2016 to make the judicial and law enforcement systems of Ukraine independent and reliable in practice.
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