Asset Disclosure on a Single Web Portal (UA0044)
Action Plan: Ukraine Second Action Plan 2014-2015
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: National Agency for Corruption Prevention
Support Institution(s): State Fiscal Service, National Agency for Civil Service, Ministry of Justice, Administration of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, State Agency for E-Governance, NGO Transparency International-Ukraine, International Renaissance Foundation, other unspecified NGOs and international organisations
Policy AreasAnti Corruption and Integrity, Asset Disclosure
Creating a unified web-portal of civil servants’ declarations of income, property and expenditures for their public-domain disclosure
IRM End of Term Status Summary
✪ 12. Asset disclosure portal
Commitment Text: 12. Creating a unified web-portal of civil servants’ declarations of income, property and expenditures for their public disclosure in open access.
Expected result: web-portal created.
Lead institution(s): National Agency for Corruption Prevention
Supporting institution(s): State Fiscal Service, National Agency for Civil Service, Ministry of Justice, Administration of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, State Agency for E-Governance, NGO Transparency International-Ukraine, International Renaissance Foundation, other unspecified NGOs and international organisations
Start Date: Not specified End Date: 31 December 2015
Online disclosure of the asset declarations of public officials is an important instrument with which to prevent corruption and detect unexplained wealth and conflicts of interest. The commitment aimed to introduce a new system of financial disclosure by setting up an online system for the submission and automatic publication of the asset declarations of public officials. The previous system of asset disclosure in Ukraine was ineffective, as it was paper-based and limited the public’s access to the declarations of officials.
The new Law on Corruption Prevention (enacted in April 2015[Note 53: http://bit.ly/1KhE3pn. ]) replaced the paper-based declarations filed by officials at their workplace with an online system that provides public access to all declarations. It ordered the new anti-corruption institution, the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP), to set up a central government web portal for all public officials to submit and disclose their asset declarations. The government’s delay in selecting members of the NACP also delayed the launch of the new e-declarations system (the NACP was responsible for developing the necessary regulations for asset disclosures, and launching the web portal).[Note 54: Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Progress Report 2014-15: Ukraine, 50-51.]
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, began preparing the future system for electronic asset disclosures. In September 2015, the UNDP launched a tender to select a contractor to develop e-declarations software according to the terms of reference developed by the World Bank.[Note 55: Ibid, 51.]
Since adoption of the Law on Corruption Prevention, the Ukrainian Parliament has introduced several changes to it to extend the scope of the asset declarations by adding new elements (e.g., beneficiary ownership of legal persons or assets, and real estate of unfinished construction).[Note 56: Ibid, 51.]
End of term: Complete
Between December 2015 and March 2016, the government appointed four (out of five) NACP members. From an open tender, the UNDP selected a contractor in December 2015 to develop the e-declarations software, and presented the prototype system the following March. During May-June 2016, the software was transferred to the NACP. In June 2016, the NACP adopted the e-declarations form and other necessary bylaws, and also decided on the timing of the new system’s launch. The first stage, which involved high and upper-middle level public officials, was to be launched on 15 August 2016, while all other declarants were included in the second stage beginning 1 January 2017. A delay in the data security certification of the software postponed the start date, which was changed to 1 September 2016. The UNDP covered the expenses related to the e-system’s hosting during the initial period. The system was launched successfully on 1 September 2016, despite technical issues related to the declarants’ authorisation in the system, saving of data, and revised e-declaration form. During the first stage (1 September to 30 October), more than 100,000 declarants filed their first annual electronic declarations for 2015. As of the end of December 2016, the public web portal contained more than 135,00 electronic documents (declarations of different types, notifications of significant changes in declarant’s assets) for public scrutiny, including in machine-readable format.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Outstanding
Public accountability: Outstanding
The new electronic asset disclosure system for public officials replaced the previous ineffective paper-based system, and allowed an unprecedented level of transparency of public officials’ assets. It is a powerful tool against corruption by making it easier to detect and prosecute illicit enrichment and conflicts of interests. The new system was launched 1 September 2016, and drew enormous media and public attention. It resulted in numerous journalist investigations and media reports in the national and foreign press.[Note 57: See, among others, http://bit.ly/2f65C9J, http://dailym.ai/2hNQtxN, http://reut.rs/2dVY6QQ, http://bit.ly/2iXzRQe, http://bit.ly/2fWzyc2, http://bit.ly/2eeftvo, http://bit.ly/2j16P6o. ] The portal has helped create greater public demand for accountability of public officials whose wealth was revealed by the e-declaration system. Declarations are automatically made public once submitted, and NGOs, media watchdogs, and citizens can report irregularities detected in the declarations to authorities. Under the corruption prevention law (Article 50),[Note 58: Ukrainian Parliament: Corruption Prevention Law (Article 50) http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/1700-18/print1486668593628465.] the NACP is required to investigate irregularities or complaints of fraudulent asset declarations. The verification process can result in a criminal investigation (under criminal procedure code (Article 214)),[Note 59: Criminal Procedure Code, Article 214: http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/4651-17/print1486668593628465] thereby creating an accountability mechanism for following up on irregularities discovered through increased transparency. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau started several criminal investigations into unjustified wealth and false statements, based on the new e-declarations.[Note 60: http://bit.ly/2grkaPw. ] International organisations and foreign governments recognised the new e-declarations system as a major breakthrough.[Note 61: See, among others, http://bit.ly/2fysVZJ, http://bit.ly/2i3aHQg, http://bit.ly/2irbCwJ, http://bit.ly/2irosLt. ] According to the December 2016 national poll, Ukrainian citizens also considered the e-declarations system launch to be the fourth most successful event of 2016.[Note 62: http://bit.ly/2hIb0Poю. ]
The commitment was carried over to the new action plan. It is important to ensure that the system operates smoothly after 1 January 2017, and that an effective procedure for verification of the submitted declarations by the NACP is introduced. For this to occur, the NACP has to adopt, and the Ministry of Justice register and publish, relevant bylaws; the NACP has to obtain direct and automated access to registers and databases held by various public authorities; and the e-declarations software has to be upgraded to allow integration with external registers and automated verification of declarations. The NACP should be granted sufficient funds to build the capacity to host and run the system securely within the NACP. The NACP should also continue conducting an extensive awareness-raising campaign and train public officials on how to use the e-declarations system.