Iryna Lutsenko on NGOs’ Declarations: Now that Everybody has Seen Who is Who, We can Just Cancel Them

Monday, April 2, 2018, 5:38 pm

 

Two nearly identical law drafts on cancelling obligatory assets declarations for civil activists have been registered at the Verkhovna Rada.

The first law draft No. 8209  was registered on March 29. It was authored by Yulia Tymoshenko, Ivan Krulko, Oleksii Riabchyn, Olena Sotnyk, Serhii Yevtushok, Oleksandra Kuzhel, Viktor Chumak, Dmytro Dobrodomov, Serhii Soboliev, Serhii Leshchenko and Ruslan Bohdan.

In the law draft it is proposed to establish that the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention” does not apply to civil activists receiving money or assets within the framework of realization of programmes (projects) or technical or other assistance, including non-repayable, in the sphere of corruption prevention and counteraction in Ukraine.

Moreover, it foresees absolving the said persons of administrative and criminal responsibility for failing to comply with provision of the law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention” on submitting declarations.

 

Law draft No. 8209-1, authored by Andriy Parubiy, Iryna Herashchenko, Maksym Burbak, Oleh Bereziuk, Yulia Tymoshenko, Oksana Syroid and Valeriy Pysarenko, was submitted on April 2.

The document stipulates cancellation of submitting by representatives of NGOs, scientific institutions, experts that are members of the Public Integrity Council, public councils that were organized at state bodies and participate in preparing decisions on human resources, monitoring, result assessment of anti-corruption programmes.

Besides, it specifies cancellation of declarations for non-resident foreign citizens who are members of supervisory board of a state bank, public enterprise or for-profit state organization.

It also applies to civil activists receiving money or assets in the framework of realization of programmes (projects) or technical or other, including non-repayable assistance in the sphere of corruption prevention and counteraction in Ukraine.

It stipulates that the said persons do not incur criminal responsibility if they fail to submit their declarations to the NACP.

 

Iryna Lutsenko, representative of the President in the Parliament said that since everybody has had the chance to see “who is who”, e-declaration can now be cancelled.

“The faction stance (Poroshenko’s Block – ed.) is to cancel e-declarations. The society had the chance to see anti-corruption activists’ incomes of 1.5 million a year, more than that of the President, Prime Minister and Prosecutor General. As well as loans they got from their girlfriends and the likes…” – she said live on the “112 Ukraine television channel.

“Guys live very cozily off the aid of our international partners. They are making good money. That is, they have the means to criticize and be anti-corruption activists. I think they are feeling good. They do not get involved with the government work, cannot become MPs at the moment. So they are just self-promoting with the help of big European money”, – added the President’s Representative.

Mrs. Lutsenko said it was possible that the MPs would be able to include law drafts on cancelling e-declarations for civil activists in the agenda on Tuesday.

“Maybe, the MPs will consider law drafts submitted by Parubiy and Tymoshenko. There will be analysis and ballot results. Certainly, we (Poroshenko’s Block – ed.) will support the laws proposed by the President as well as those that cancel e-declarations for civil activists and foreigners”, – she said.

When asked how the Poroshenko’s Block faction will go about the issue of 40 of their votes lacking during their previous voting to cancel declarations for civil activists, Lutsenko said that all it was just educational work and their personal stance.

 

Previously, during the Conciliatory Council meeting, the Verkhovna Rada speaker Andriy Parubiy said that there were two new draft laws at the Parliament on cancelling e-declarations for the civil activists which the MPs would be able to consider as soon as Tuesday, April 3.

According to him, there is an agreement with the anti-corruption committee which was to assemble on April 2 and to review the proposed documents so that on April 3 they could be included in the agenda and considered during the plenary session.

However, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction did not review the draft laws since they were unable to start work due to no quorum.

Earlier it was reported that the NACP is in favour of cancelling e-declarations for the members of anti-corruption NGOs.

 

Also it was reported that on March 31 Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State Heather Nauert said that the United States strongly encourage the Government of Ukraine to repeal legislation that requires asset declarations from activists and NGO members.

Previously G7 Ambassadors called for the Verkhovna Rada to cancel their requirement for international members of Supervisory Boards of State-Owned Enterprises and anti-corruption activists to submit their assets declarations.

Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, issued a strongly-worded statement in relation to the Ukrainian authorities failing to live up to their commitment. The statement appeared because on 1 April, the deadline for submission of the asset declarations for anti-corruption civil society activists will lapse.

Brussels repeatedly called for Ukraine to cancel the requirement, yet nothing had been done: President Poroshenko proposed the law draft which was severely criticized by the Venice Commission but the Verkhovna Rada did not manage to gather enough votes to cancel the odious requirements.

As we know, on March 22 2018 the Verkhovna Rada refused to consider draft laws that cancel or delay electronic assets and income declarations from anti-corruption NGO activists.

The Members of Parliament did not vote in favour of any of the three respective law drafts (No. 6271, 8120 and 8120-1) to be included in the agenda and considered at the seating.

The Anti-corruption Action Centre members of the Board and the experts involved in work of the anti-corruption NGO  submitted their 2017 electronic assets declarations, in which, among other assets they declared their cats, dogs and the three-metre-wide “anticorruption buttocks”.

 

Yana Milanova, the Ukrayinska Pravda. Original text: https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2018/04/2/7176529/