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A step in the right direction – Law 2901 signed by President

June 7, 2013

Law 2901 relating to a major shift in transparency amongst leading public officials – from the President down – and their families – was signed yesterday by President Yanukovych.

Whether or not RADA MPs actually knew what they voted through last month for presidential signature I’m not sure – most of the time I strongly suspect many do not even read the laws they are voting for or against, sticking firmly to the tribal stance their party takes over any particular proposed legislation.

Sad, but probably true!

Thus, Law 2901 – very similar to Bill 2837 and 2082 submitted by the opposition – comes into force and presents major changes to the declarations of leading public officials.  I understand from Anatoly Gritsenko (Batkivshchyna Party) competing Bills with very similar content will now be withdrawn by the opposition.

Significantly, Law 2901 now proscribes that not only state appointees and their immediate families living with them must make declarations of income and expenditure – but also immediate family from great-grandfather through the generations to great grandchildren, whether they live with the official or not.

Thus the days of signing over assets to trusted loved-ones within the immediate families of public and state officials to avoid scrutiny are now over.  A little more cleverness is going to be needed to hide assets and incomes.

Importantly, the Hryvnia sum of what must be declared has been radically reduced from UAH 150,000 down to UAH 80,000.  Logically the smaller the sum exempt from declaration, the greater the scrutiny.

Lastly, and what makes me think that many RADA MPs will have voted along party lines and not have read what they voted through, is a matter of public transparency.  Henceforth, a unified State Register relating to declarations of public and state officials will be compiled and open to the public – with all changes to, and declarations from those who must now do so, being published within 3 days of submission.

Naturally, I am not so deluded as to think this will make significant changes to the level of corruption that occurs within the political and state appointed elites – but it will make things a little more difficult than they have been to date – and that can only be a good thing.

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