Photo from UNIAN, Inna Sokolovska
The Verkhovna Rada on Law Enforcement at its meeting on Wednesday failed to endorse a single bill restoring criminal punishment for public servants deliberately filing inaccurate data in their asset declarations.
Two bills on the same issue were being discussed today, an UNIAN correspondent reports.
The Rada is expected to vote in the draft law restoring criminal liability for inaccurate reporting of assets and income by officials after the Constitutional Court late October repealed the relevant article of the Criminal Code in one of the latest controversial moves that rolled back anti-corruption reform and led to what many call "constitutional crisis."
One of the bills considered at the Committee had been submitted by President (No.4434), while the other one was authored by a group of MPs (No. 4441).
Committee Chair Denys Monastyrsky (SoP) said both bills were in fact alternative versions of legislation set to be voted.
"The question now is for us to consider these two initiatives and bring them into a one, which could be supported in the session hall in line with the ad hoc procedure, which requires consent of virtually all factions and groups. This won't work any other way. If it doesn't, we're rolling back at least two weeks with the bill's consideration," Monastyrsky explained.
A third bill has also been worked out, agreed by Rada factions. It was tabled in the Committee today after a parliament meeting, which took place at 12:00.
Speaking about the common and distinctive positions of the third draft law from the other two, Monastyrsky noted: "Article 336-2 – declaring inaccurate information – presupposes the deliberate filing of knowingly false information. Punishment starts from the sum worth 500 subsistence minimums, which is twice as much as before."
Read also EU report notes serious implications of latest Constitutional Court decisions Qualifying circumstances were highlighted, if the gap between declared and actual assets exceeds 4,000 living wages, or UAH 8.4 million, liability is provided either in the form of a fine from 3,000 to 5,000 non-taxable minimum incomes (from UAH 51,000 to UAH 85,000), or in the form of public works, or restriction of freedom for up to 2 years.
"This is the main difference from the presidential draft and from the draft law authored by lawmakers," Monastyrsky said.
Failure to submit a declaration as such would also be considered a criminal offense.
"The main discussion and debate over the last week was on whether there shouls be a restriction of freedom or imprisonment if a certain sum is in question. We came to the conclusion that there should be a restriction of freedom, starting with 4,000 living wages, that is, UAH 8.4 million," the Committee chair said.
Read also Rada could renew punishment for inaccurate declaration of assets by officials Eventually, further discussion was postponed until tomorrow, December 3, as no consensus was reached on the issue.
E-declaration of assets by officials: Background
On October 27, the Constitutional Court made a decision on a motion filed by 47 Members of Parliament, having repealed Article 366-1 of the Criminal Code, which provided for criminal liability for the inaccurate declaration by government officials of their income.
The Constitutional Court also recognized the provisions of laws on the audit of officials' e-declarations as unconstitutional and stripped the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) of powers to vet asset reports and identify conflicts of interest.
President Volodymyr Zelensky tabled bill No. 4288 in parliament to terminate the powers of all CCU judges. The document states, in particular, that the decision of the Constitutional Court of October 27 is "null and void."