Archive for May 15th, 2013

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Transparency in political fortune – Bill 2837

May 15, 2013

It is and has never been a secret that Ukrainian politicians have always, and still do, see politics as a way not only of insuring the retention of their personal interests against others who may like the look of them, but also to use their position within the most elite business club in Ukraine to expand their interests, often across party lines – after all why let political party lines stand in the way of personal interest.

There has to be a reason to pay up to $5 million to get onto the “party list” and allocated a seat in the RADA after all – and $5 million is the price of a RADA seat offered to my good lady by BYuT in 2007, despite her absolute loathing and complete and utter disinterest in politics.

That $5 million, the sales pitch goes, will be quadrupled at least during a 5 year parliamentary term – an excellent return on investment.  A mere $100,000 would buy a seat in the regional legislature, which although not adding multiple millions in return for your investment, would certainly leave her a $ millionaire at the end of any term.

Naturally anything she did not want to declare could be assigned to my name and the usual annual income return for public officials farce would continue with all declaring an absolute pittance in comparison to the real incomes – something that still happens today due to hiding wealth, assets and income via family members amongst other shenanigans.

However, this may well be about to change.

Bill 2837 was submitted on 14th April 2013 which will go some considerable way to changing and limiting the ways of hiding real earnings and personal worth for politicians and state officials.

Granted it may not stop the shenanigans any more than tax avoidance laws gather in more tax – avoidance systems simply become more complex.

However, this bill is jointly drafted by Petrenko, Chumak, Tigipko and Mahnitski – 4 MPs form different parties amongst the 5 of relevance in the RADA.  Thus with cross-party authors there should be enough cross-party support to get this bill through its first reading which is due immanently.

It is quite a radical bill in terms of the transparency it may bring about in comparison to the current opaque methodology.

There is a citizens corruption  register (open to all citizens), big changes in the amount of, and reporting methods relating to, expenses paid for by the public purse, and perhaps most interestingly, the incomes and assets of public officials and their family members must be reported – including those family members who do not live with the public officials a favoured way of hiding personal worth of the officialdom.

Now it maybe that this bill will not change much in respect to actual transparency once ways to circumvent it have been discovered and organised – however it will be interesting to see if the bill will be adopted given the spirit in which it has obviously been drafted and the attempt at transparency it intends to install.

I expect it to pass, despite the fact it is not perfect having read it.

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