Anti-corruption reform and its success can be fairly considered as a general indicator of reforming the state. However, as of now the news in this area is not encouraging: according to the latest data from Transparency International, Ukraine occupies 131 position in the world Corruption Perceptions Index (2016).
Despite these low scores, it is important to understand that “material” for anti-corruption reform in Ukraine has been collected for decades. Bureaucratic schemes inherited from the Soviet system and imposed on the chaos of spontaneous capitalism became an excellent environment for the development of corruption. All post-Soviet countries have undergone or are currently undergoing a difficult and long-lasting process of fight against backstage politics and shadow business. Corruption easily penetrates into all aspects of the state apparatus, it is very convenient for those who are in the scheme and rejection of these schemes requires a high level of personal consciousness and culture, and this primarily means a new generation of the political establishment and renewal of the government.
Anti-corruption reform launched at the end of 2014, which was stimulated by the Revolution of dignity and the adoption of the strategy of sustainable development “Ukraine-2020”, is not the first attempt to fight corruption in Ukraine after attaining independence. In 2009, the Government headed by Yuliya Tymoshenko had introduced a progressive package of anti-corruption laws that was later abolished by Mykola Azarov’s Government after coming to power of Viktor Yanukovych. National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2011-2015 (of 2011) adopted instead was declarative and didn’t receive a positive assessment of international organizations. In 2013, according to Transparency International Ukraine got 144 place in terms of corruption.
Objectives and methods of the current anti-corruption reform are determined by the Law “On the Fundamentals of Anti-Corruption Policy in Ukraine (Anti-Corruption Strategy) for 2014-2017” adopted in 2015.
According to the Law, to implement anti-corruption reform government shall:
➤ create a specially authorized body on corruption prevention responsible for a range of measures for the development and implementation of anti-corruption policy,
➤ introduce a national methodology for assessing the level of corruption in accordance with the UN standards,
➤ carry out an anti-corruption examination of electoral legislation and review it in compliance with the findings on corruption implications and European standards,
➤ adopt legislation on the implementation of recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in terms of setting limits and ensuring transparency and accountability of funding political parties and election campaigns,
➤ adopt legislation on strengthening public control over decision-making by elected officials,
➤ improve the transparency level of the Verkhovna Rada and local councils,
➤ take all necessary measures to prevent corruption in public procurement system,
➤ approve amendments to the Constitution and relevant laws of Ukraine in compliance with the findings of the European Commission “For Democracy through Law”,
➤ take measures aimed at deregulation of the economy,
➤ take measures aimed at ensuring free competition and implementation of administrative and judicial reforms,
➤ reform law enforcement and regulatory bodies,
➤ approve in cooperation with civil society institution an action plan for different social and age groups aimed at solving complex problems on tolerance attitude towards corruption.
Reform expert – Oleksandr Liemienov, co-founder of the NGO “Center for Local Self-Governance”, manager of an anti-corruption reform team of the “Reanimation Package of Reforms” group.
➤ Disclosure of property declarations of civil servants.
➤ Inspection of officials of all government and local self-government bodies.
➤ Creation of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention.
➤ Creation of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
➤ Disclosure of registers of owners of real estate and land property.
➤ Disclosure of information on the real owners of companies – final beneficiaries. In Europe, this is practiced only in Ukraine and the UK.
➤ Introduction of a new concept of crime – “unlawful enrichment”: cases when a civil servant possesses property that he/she could not afford on their legitimate income.
➤ Implementation of the state procurement reform. Creation of ProZorro.
➤ Creation of the National Agency for the Investigation and Disposal of Assets.
Measures to be taken:
➤ Set up of the State Bureau of Investigation.
➤ Forcing civil servants who have not submitted property declarations to do this from Jan. 1 to Apr. 1, 2017.
➤ Forming full composition of the NACP and adoption of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code granting the NACP the right to monitor phone lines.
➤ Rendering state control on access to public information from the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to an independent authority.
➤ Providing access to the information on the Verkhovna Rada activity and public reporting of deputies in compliance with the program “Open Parliament”.
Key laws adopted within the reform:
➤ The Law “On cleaning power”.
➤ The Law “On the Fundamentals of Anti-Corruption Policy in Ukraine (Anti-Corruption Strategy) for 2014-2017”.
➤ The Law “On National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine”.
➤ The Law “On Prevention of Corruption”.
➤ The Law “On Open Use of Public Funds”.
➤ The Resolution “On Creation of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI)”.
➤ The Law “On the National Agency of Ukraine for Detection and Management of Assets Obtained through Corruption and Other Crimes”.
➤ The Law “On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Preventing and Combating Political Corruption”.
Laws to be adopted:
➤ The Draft Law “On the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court” (drafted, but not submitted to the Verkhovna Rada).
➤ The Draft Law “On Anti-Corruption Court” (drafted, but not submitted to the Verkhovna Rada).
➤ The Draft Law “On Lobbying” (registered in the Verkhovna Rada).
➤ The Draft Law “On the Protection of Whistleblowers and Disclosure of Information about the Harm or Threat to Public Interests (registered in the Verkhovna Rada).
➤ The Draft Law “On State Protection of Rights of Access to Public Information” (under development).