Yehor Soboliev: E-declaration might result into repressions against the corruption exposers – social activists

I asked the President not to sign this law, and together with the Speaker of the Parliament convene an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada this week and correct those regulations with which the thieves spoilt this document during the voting.

There are three problems. First of all, there is a hole in the law on e-declarations of the military – the officials responsible for the finances of military units, for the purchase of fuel and lubrication materials, for the economic activities were released from the obligation to submit the declarations on the property of their families. Even the Ministry of Defence in the process of preparation of this law in our committee has agreed that this is a corruption-related activity, and such officers must file their declarations and publish them on the Internet. Also, it is necessary to add to the law a requirement to the National Corruption Prevention Agency not to disclose the information about the military units in which senior officers receive their salaries. This can help the enemy identify who serves in which military unit.

The second problem is that in spite of the fact that the law was initially submitted by the President to regulate the disclosure of declarations by the military, the deputies of his faction, along with the People’s Front, the Radical Party, the Opposition Bloc, the “Revival” and the “People’s Will” groups, have added to the law the requirement for all anti-corruption public organizations and members of public councils in Ukraine to submit declarations.

This is laying one’s own fault at somebody else’s door. The civil society does not use taxpayers’ money, and I find it possible to apply the electronic declaration requirement to citizens only when each and every official is held accountable for the lies in their declarations or can explain the origin of the property mationed there.

In the current environment – with the dependent Corruption Prevention Agency and courts – e-declaration for public activists can result into new ways of pressure on them and repression against those who expose corruption.

The third problem is that these norms were introduced by the kleptocratic majority in the parliament in such a hurry that they introduced two opposite requirements there. In accordance with the one of them, the civil society must file declarations by May this year; in accordance with another – in the following 2018. How is the law supposed to work well if it contradicts itself?!

After the President signs this law, it will be even harder to fix it. The President’s proposal to create a working group and develop amendments is good for nothing. The President understands perfectly well that the majority of deputies in the parliament will not vote for the correction of the law. And he will be able to say, as always, “This is an independent parliament.”

Yehor Sobolev
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