Ukrainian MPs offered to buy off charges of corruption

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

In accordance with the draft budget-2017, the government expected to receive 10.5 billion hryvnia from special confiscation. In practice, the budget revenues from this article not exceeded even thousands of hryvnia
20:27, 20 August 2018

112 Agency

Political and customs corruption can be eliminated already in this half-year. This was stated by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko at the end of January near the building of the European Parliament. The Ukrainian parliament joined the crusade against political corruption. People's deputy from Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc Andriy Antonishchak has registered a bill according to which deputies and ministers guilty of taking bribes will have to pay a fine and lose "an unjustified remuneration of material nature." However, the unofficial practice of making key decisions in the Verkhovna Rada and other bodies shows that, despite a number of indicative arrests, corruption in the higher echelons of power has a stubborn resistance. It just does not respond to appeals like "Surrender, you're surrounded!". It seems that political corruption in Ukraine is ineradicable

To date, the Criminal Code (Article 368, - Ed.) provides the responsibility for obtaining an illegal benefit by official. That is, we see the responsibility for the same offenses that the author of the bill proposes, since political corruption, according to it, is illegal activity, which consists in the use of power and related rights by a person with public-authority powers in the sphere of state policy to meet their own material or non-material interest or the interest of third parties.

In accordance with the draft law of Antonyshchak, which appeared on the parliament's website in early August, it is proposed to ease the pockets of corrupt officials by 8,5-12 thousand hryvnia (500-750 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens), and also to confiscate the bribes themselves. In fact, we are talking about the decriminalization of top officials and deputies who will be found guilty of corruption. The author proposes to add the article on offenses related to political corruption to the Code of Administrative Offenses. Thus, the author believes that the adoption of a legislative initiative in this form will increase revenues to the state budget. True, the author did not give a clear list of those who fall under the bill.

In accordance with the current legislation, a fine is even provided in a larger amount than the author suggests, namely 1,500 non-taxable minimum incomes (Article 368 of the Criminal Code). And in the event when deputies or ministers take the bribe, according to the current legislation, they generally have the risk to be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

That is, the nominal amount of the fine is reduced by half. You will say that bribes will now be confiscated. It should be noted that to date, the top officials guilty of corruption are also able to say goodbye to the unjustly acquired - the legislation provides for a procedure of special confiscation for such offenses. That's just we have no positive results on such cases.

In accordance with the draft budget-2017, the government expected to receive 10.5 billion hryvnia from special confiscation. In practice, the budget revenues from this article not exceeded even thousands of hryvnia. The only big fish that law enforcement agencies managed to catch were the famous billions of Yanukovych. And then they say that there is a risk of their return due to procedural violations.

How could this look in practice? The suspect / deputy / minister gives the agreed amount, and the agreement is formalized by a court decision, according to which the suspect generously pays a fine, the size of which, as we noted, is reduced in comparison with the current legislation. Taking back the illegally acquired, as evidenced by domestic realities, is almost impossible. The grandmother or more distant relatives will be mentioned as owners of the property. So, for example, one of the prosecutors wrote in the declaration that his grandmother gave him a car Porshe Cayen worth tens of thousands of dollars. As practice shows, even if the prosecutor makes evidence that indicates the possibility of collusion, this still does not guarantee anything. Afflicted political opponents / former comrades-in-arms can suffer; the rest of the "suspect" can have an anti-corruption subscription.

The bill does not solve the issue of corruption in the political system, and it can hardly be eradicated completely, because political corruption is the transition of politicians from faction to faction in pursuit of long hryvnia / dollar / euro or behind an imperious resource. This is buying seats in electoral lists, these are separate self-nominees, passing under the wing of influential people's choices, this is payment for "right" questions. If we talk about going to parliament, the cost of admission to the influential political force on the district is estimated, according to unofficial data, as the sum with six zeros. In US dollars, of course. The same applies to places in the lists. That is, we are talking about a system that can be changed exclusively by evolution, since this requires a restructuring of consciousness. And this will take years.

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