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Speaker urges MPs to resume asset declarations for officials

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 26, 2023 4:24 PM 2 min read
Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk during a speech on the occasion of Journalist's Day on June 6, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament, on July 26 called on lawmakers to support a bill to restore electronic asset declarations for officials.

"My position is clear and understandable: it must be restored as soon as possible," he stated.

Stefanchuk said that supporting the bill "will bring us closer to membership in the European Union." He added that he had voluntarily submitted his own asset declarations for both 2021 and 2022.

Ukraine's asset declaration system was a key pillar of the country's anti-corruption infrastructure.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian authorities have not required officials to submit electronic declarations of their assets due to security concerns.

However, there have been growing calls to resume the requirement. In February 2023, an online petition for requiring state officials to resume filing their asset declarations collected the 25,000 signatures necessary for presidential consideration.

‌‌Civic watchdogs say that the asset declaration system has been effectively destroyed. They claim that martial law was used as a pretext by corrupt officials.

"As Ukrainian soldiers are sacrificing their lives for their homeland, there are still officials who are involved in corruption," anti-corruption activist Oleksiy Hrytsenko, the petition's author, wrote.

In response to the petition, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on Feb. 22 that a bill had been registered by an MP to resume the requirement for state officials to file electronic asset declarations.

Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said on June 23 that Ukraine must restore online asset declarations for government officials.

‌‌According to him, the restoration of asset declarations would be a good test case for the Ukrainian government's real anti-corruption commitment.

Maasikas' statement came after the European Commission ruled that Ukraine completed only two of the seven requirements needed for Ukraine to start EU accession talks. Ukraine officially became an EU candidate in June 2022.

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