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Zelensky signs law restoring public access to asset declarations

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 10, 2023 2:24 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address on Sept. 27, 2023. (Photo via President's Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on Oct. 10 to resume asset declarations for officials and immediately make them publicly accessible.

On Sept. 12, Zelensky vetoed the previous version of the law, which restored the requirement to submit online asset declarations but failed to make them public.

The controversial bill, approved by the parliament on Sept. 5, entailed blocking public access to the asset declarations for one more year, which sparked wide criticism among Ukrainian anti-corruption activists.

On Sept. 7, members of the European Parliament also asked Zelensky to veto the law due to concerns it would undermine trust in anti-corruption reforms.

Officials accused of using war as pretext for hiding ill-gotten wealth
As Ukrainian soldiers are defending their homeland on the front line, officials in the rear are accused of using the war as a pretext for hiding their wealth. They are able to do so because one of Ukraine’s main anti-corruption tools, the asset declaration system, has been effectively eliminated.

Following the veto, Zelensky proposed to reinstate open access to the asset declarations but exclude certain categories of government employees, such as members of the Armed Forces or State Border Guard Service.

However, these exceptions would not apply to military personnel holding or seconded to positions as ministers and deputy ministers or as heads and deputy heads of central and local executive bodies.

The system of compulsory asset declarations was originally instituted as part of the country's fight against corruption following the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution.

At the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the requirement for submitting e-declarations was suspended, and public access to the declarations was shut down. Officials have still been able to submit them on a voluntary basis.

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