“Revenge of corrupt officials”. Parliament criminalizes protesters’ refusal against corruption to file e-declarations

Дата: 25 March 2017
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The amendment of the deputy Tetiana Chornovol from the People’s Front political party in the bill 6172 obliges each participant of the protest against corruption to file electronic property declarations. In case of refusal the protestor will bear criminal responsibility.

As stated in the statement of the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR).

In the bill №6172 “On amendments to Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On corruption prevention” the people who are obliged to file a declaration includes -“indiduals who … take part or are engaged in the actions related to prevention of and counteraction to corruption”.

In addition, the law obligates the members of the NGOs engaged in the prevention of and counteraction to corruption and their service providers to submit electronic declarations.

“Although politicians might voice different arguments to explain the reasons behind this regulation, the adopted draft law opens up the opportunities of power abuse: the authorities can now pressurize the citizens who were brave enough to voice their stand and fight against corruption. We would like to stress that according to the public opinion polls it is corruption that remains a key barrier to the development of Ukraine”, – noted the RPR experts.

In their statement, they remind that public control over the authorities is a characteristic feature of a democratic state.

“At the same time, when the authorities introduce random mechanisms of control over the public – these are the signs of a transition to authoritarianism. It is a shame that in three years after the Revolution of Dignity, the authorities started to create barriers and significant restrictions for the public anti-corruption activities. And this is done by the politicians who came to power owing to the public rising against the willfulness and corruption of high-ranking officials”, – said in the statement.

The RPR experts are convinced that owing to the persistence and uncompromised stand of the public activists and organizations fighting against corruption that after the Revolution of Dignity new anti-corruption agencies –the NABU and the NACP – were set up, electronic declaration of civil servants, local officials and politicians was introduced. They also achieved the practice of officials’ recruitment on the basis of open competition.

“We do not evade declaration of our property and assets: each of us submits an annual tax declaration on property and income; some of us have published e-declarations in compliance with the effective laws or on their own initiative. Our organizations publish annual financial reports on our websites”, – emphasized in the RPR statement.

Experts refer to amendments to the bill as populist cover-up hiding the legal mechanisms “aimed at paralyzing the activity of the NGOs and preventing the citizens from taking part in any anti-corruption activities”.

“Moreover, in its present form, this law includes evident signs of discrimination (unequal treatment) based on the type of activity”, – said in the statement.

The Reanimation Package of Reforms calls on the President of Ukraine to return the law to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for immediate repeated consideration, “recommending that discriminatory regulations violating civil rights and threatening further democratic development of Ukraine are excluded”.

“We also propose that the President of Ukraine meets the representatives of the civil society in the presence of media to discuss this situation and to find the right way out, avoiding mistakes and uniting the society”, – said in the statement.

As a reminder, on March 23, the parliament approved changes to the electronic declaration, which relieves contract servicemen and mobilized soldiers from the obligation to file electronic declarations.

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