Transparency International is concerned that Ukraine has introduced a new e-declaration system to fight corruption but without the necessary security certification, which means it cannot formally be used to prosecute public officials who falsely report their assets and interests.
”President Poroshenko promised that the e-declaration system would be introduced on August 15 – but without a security certificate it is simply window dressing and cannot fight corruption. This will be seen as a symbolic move to let the corrupt off the hook,” said Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, who met with President Poroshenko in June, the report says.
The e-declaration system is mandatory for all public servants, politicians, managers of state and communal enterprises, and other employees who are paid by the state. Public officials are only obliged to post information once. If they do that before the web-based system is certified as secure, then that information cannot be used in court even if they falsely under-declared their income, property and other assets. This presents a major vulnerability in the system that must be fixed immediately.
The e-declaration system is a pre-requisite for Ukrainians to receive visa-free travel in Europe and the next tranche of funds from the International Monetary Fund, as well financial assistance from the EU and the World Bank.
”President Poroshenko must demonstrate that he`s serious about cleaning up the problem of illicit enrichment of public officials by insisting on immediate certification of the e-declaration system. It may seem like a small technicality; to Ukrainians who are fed up with the corruption that is crippling their country, it is an important step to winning back trust,” said Ugaz.
Transparency International Ukraine on Monday issued a call to the heads of the organizations responsible for the system – the State Agency for Information Protection and Special Communications of Ukraine (SAIP) and the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) – to resign because the system is not functional. The system is technically proven. It only lacks the official certificate.
”We feared that there would be cynical loopholes and now we see what is happening. The state agencies tasked with fighting corruption must take responsibility,” said Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine.