Combatting corruption topping Ukraine's reforms agenda

May 24, 2015

21 May 2015, Kyiv – The Minister of Justice met with key international counterparts supporting corruption prevention in Ukraine to discuss steps for establishing the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption, possible timelines, CSO engagement in the process, as well as Ukraine’s plans to transition to electronic income and property declarations for public servants.

The National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) is expected to become operational until mid-July this year – so noted the Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko at an open meeting with national and international stakeholders engaged in assisting NAPC establishment. It is envisaged that mid-July will see selection of five members of the collegiate NAPC, and by that time some concrete tools that the NAPC will be working with will be developed, including the launch of the electronic assets declarations system.

"Our common goal - and I'm sure we'll cope with it by the end of the year - to ensure full-fledged operation of the preventive body, and to make sure that from the next year all public servants at all levels will file their declarations electronically. There should be monitoring of the life style of officials and those who are light-fingered have to be dismissed and held accountable," the Minister noted.

The same message was re-iterated by the Deputy Minister Anton Yanchuk who stressed that the government has performed openly in including CSO representatives into the selection process in order to make the selection process more democratic and transparent.  He also underlined that on 17 May, four CSO representatives were selected as members of the Selection Panel that will review applications for the 5 vacancies at the NAPC. Currently, the President, Parliament, and Cabinet of Ministers have to nominate their representatives to the Selection Panel.

International partners, in turn, expressed their appreciation to the efforts the Ministry was undertaking to change the anti-corruption system of Ukraine emphasizing that Ukraine had made significant progress in the fight against corruption, but a lot of things had to be done to continue this struggle.

UNDP as a regional leader in corruption prevention has committed itself to assisting the Ministry with developing the necessary guidelines and regulations to make this new e-system workable, as even with the most advanced tools, there would be need for qualified expert reviewers of declarations and analysis practices to spot irregularities. In order to facilitate the NAPC operationalization, UNDP is reviewing European practices of preventive anticorruption bodies to come by with best practice summary regarding set-up and architecture of the future NAPC Secretariat. Works are under way to supplant NAPC with a ready-to-go package of institution-building documents (statutes, regulations, rules of procedure) in order to progress fast and save the valuable time for essential work of corruption prevention.

Yuliya Shcherbinina, UNDP Senior Program Manager, emphasized that UNDP was eager to help Ukraine build an ecosystem around the selected and implemented system for e-declarations, no matter what technical solution came to the fore. In this vein, UNDP Ukraine had already commissioned national expertise for designing a standard operational procedure for full verification of assets declarations as stipulated by the current legislation, a means of and rules for identifying positions with high corruption risks, methodology and guidelines of lifestyle monitoring, as well as other practical tools and guidelines. 

The World Bank Country Director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Europe and Central Asia Qimiao Fa elaborated on the need to create an interagency working group to facilitate the NAPC launch. The World Bank was ready to contribute with expert support on asset declarations collection and verification introducing a Georgian approach to paperless asset declaration system and digitizing the back-file stock.

Maria Stogova, Sector Manager of the Fight against Organized Crime and Corruption, the EU Delegation to Ukraine, offered to consider using the other platform of assets declaration verification developed by Estonian programmers for civil society.

The discussion allowed the parties to agree upon further meetings on corruption prevention and electronic declarations in the format of a working group, as well as continuing close cooperation between the Ministry and international partners regarding technical support of the NAPC.

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