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Zelensky: Bill registered to resume asset declarations for officials

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 22, 2023 11:57 PM 2 min read
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 22 that a bill had been registered by an MP to resume the requirement for state officials to file electronic asset declarations.

He said this in his response to a petition for resuming the filing of asset declarations. The petition collected the necessary 25,000 signatures on the president's site in early February.

Zelensky did not say explicitly whether he supported the proposal but said that it is the parliament's prerogative to pass bills.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Ukrainian authorities allowed officials not to file electronic asset declarations and shut down public access to all previous declarations. Officials will only have to resume submitting asset declarations within three months after the end of the war.

Civic watchdogs say that Ukraine's asset declaration system, a key pillar of the anti-corruption infastructure, has been effectively destroyed, with martial law used as a pretext by corrupt officials. This will make all future contests for government jobs meaningless, the watchdogs argue.

The bill on resuming asset declarations was registered by the Verkhovna Rada in September. It is not clear why it has taken several months for Zelensky to comment on the issue and why the bill has not been approved yet.

Investigators search Kolomoisky, Avakov, incumbent top officials in unprecedented raid

David Arakhamia, the sponsor of the bill and head of the Servant of the People party's faction in parliament, argued on Telegram on Feb. 22 that Zelensky supported the petition.

He said that a working group had been set up to speed up the passage of the bill.

"Our country is waging a tough war for its future in the civilized world. Therefore, even during fierce battles and missile attacks, officials and MPs must comply with the principles of honesty and transparency," he wrote.

On Feb. 10, G7 ambassadors called on Ukraine to quickly restore the asset declaration system. It is also one of the EU's conditions for Ukraine's potential accession to the bloc.

Zelensky's response to the petition comes after an anti-corruption crackdown on Feb. 1, when law enforcers raided powerful oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, scandalous former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and top tax and customs officials.

The large-scale operation came as the Ukrainian government sought to show that it is tackling corruption as the West provides unprecedented amounts of aid to Kyiv.

But critics question the sincerity of the anti-corruption drive since some notorious top officials accused of corruption, including Zelensky's deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov, are notably missing from the list of those fired or investigated. Tatarov was charged with bribery in 2020.

Moreover, the most high-profile figures searched on Feb. 1 - Avakov and Kolomoisky - have not faced any charges so far.

Oleg Sukhov: US should sanction these 2 symbols of Ukraine’s corruption


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