Ritual dances around asset declaration: Why CCU's arguments remain unconvincing.


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Article 67 Part 1 of the Constitution of Ukraine reads in black and white: "All citizens shall annually submit to their local tax authorities a declaration of their assets and income for the past year in the manner prescribed by law."

Therefore, reporting under Law of Ukraine "On Corruption Prevention" is unconstitutional, at least on five grounds.

First, the Constitution provides for a general asset declaration on the part of the taxation subject. "Everyone" – that means no exceptions, including the homeless. There can be no equals and "more equal ones" in the country.

Secondly, the Constitution provides for the filing of declarations exclusively with the tax authorities, not the the NACP(National Agency on Corruption Prevention)or local authorities. Assets shouldn't be reported on any agency's website or graffitied on the fence.

Third, the Constitution provides for annual declarations only. No declarations are envisaged ahead of an official being hired or dismissed, and neither are they obliged to report following "a significant change in property status." Just once a year, before a certain deadline…

Read also EU Delegation: Constitutional Court's decision calls into question Ukraine's commitments Fourth, according to the Constitution, only income and property are subject to declaration. Expenses and financial obligations shall remain beyond reporting.

Fifth, the declaration can only be personal – it shall not cover other persons related to the person filing it. Similarly, the liability shall remain personal. Everyone shall declare their own income and property.

It's a shame though that the Constitutional Court wrote nothing about it in its ruling.

Arguments regarding "violation of the independence of the judiciary and judges" are a product of the majority of CCU judges' sick imagination

Do I consider convincing the arguments applied by the CCU in its latest ruling? No, I don't. After all, arguments regarding "violation of the independence of the judiciary and judges" are a product of the majority of CCU judges' sick imagination.

Is it possible to tackle corruption in an illegal and unconstitutional way? No it's not. Because in this case, there will be no difference between corrupt officials and those fighting them beyond the legal field.

If someone is not okay with the current form of the Constitution's Article 67 in question, then there's a procedure envisaged in Section XIII of the Basic Law to change this norm(incidentally, no one has so far initiated amendments to the Constitution in this regard). But please, don't wipe your dirty feet on the Constitution, each time passing yet another obviously unconstitutional law to prevent corruption. Moreover, lawmakers adopt such ill-considered and crude laws are adopted for the sake of senseless hype, in a cheap trick to please the average Ukrainians and present themselves holier than the Pope in the eyes of naive Western diplomats. Nothing more than that…

Of course, in spite of the latest developments, on June 28 every year(Ukraine's Constitution Day), all politicians, officials, and civil activists, who have never raised the issue of the above-mentioned amendments to Article 67, will keep convincing the public how much they love and appreciate the Basic Law. And this has been going on in circles.

Andrii Mahera, lawyer, ex-deputy head of the CEC

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