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24 February, 1999
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On The Activities Of Ukraine’s Government Bodies In An Effort To Combat Corruption
Displays of corruption are more or less evident in every society. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is also present in Ukraine, which is undergoing harsh times of transition to market economy. Therefore, combating corruption has become one of the central subjects in the activity of Ukraine’s executive bodies.
In an effort to manage this negative phenomenon, the country’s officials have resorted to a number of organizational, legislative and practical activities.
To coordinate efforts aimed at dealing with this problem, a Coordinating Committee for Combating Corruption and Organized crime has been created under the auspices of the President of Ukraine, which is entrusted to coordinate mutual actions of national law enforcement and control bodies for combating corruption and organized crime.
Legislative support for law enforcement activity and organized crime resistance is entrusted to the related committee of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada.
In an effort to implement practical activities aimed at combating corruption, special units have been formed in Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Security Service, General Prosecutor’s Office and State Tax Administration. The President of Ukraine has issued a decree on creation of a National Bureau of Investigation. Last November, the bill on the National Bureau of Investigation and related draft amendments to the effective legislation were sent by the President of Ukraine to Verkhovna Rada for consideration.
Great attention is paid to regulatory support for the activities by state and law-enforcement bodies aimed at combating corruption in the country.
On the initiative of the President of Ukraine and Cabinet of Ministers, Verkhovna Rada has adopted the legislative acts On combating corruption, On civil service, On property, On commercial activity, On bank deposits, On economic partnership, On leasing the state-owned property, On bankruptcy, On foreign economic activities, etc.
Special attention has been paid to coordination and practical support for implementation of documents on combating corruption in the country.
To implement this, the President of Ukraine has issued a number of decrees, expanded sessions and briefings are taking place twice a year with participation of the heads of national, law-enforcement and control bodies, where the results of this activity are analyzed in detail and the related tasks are assigned. During the past two years, the question of enhancing the resistance to corruption have been on the agenda of Cabinet of Ministers three times.
On the initiative of the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers, a number of programs on implementing the coordinated organizational and practical activities of national, law enforcement and control bodies aimed at more enhanced fighting against corruption in the country, have been developed and approved. A National Program to Combat Corruption for 1998-2005 has been adopted in 1997, and a year later its implementation was conceptualized.
Among the measures taken, special attention is paid to preventing and revealing the cases of corruption in central and local executive and law-enforcement bodies, in the customs and tax departments, in the credit and banking sector, in the course of privatization, in the foreign economic activity, and in the fuel and energy sector. Special control has been established to prevent cases of corruption in the civil service. According to the Ukrainian legislative acts On civil service and On combating corruption civil servants annually must declare their income and financial obligations, as well as their own and their families’ assets.
Therefore, as the result of a number of legal, organizational and practical activities conducted jointly by national executive and law-enforcement bodies, the actions aimed at preventing corruption have been enhanced. The spectrum of positive trends in the arrangement of preventive measures against these negative phenomena has broadened, it has become better coordinated both on the local and on the national level, as well as on the international one.
In the country, a solid organizational and legal foundation has been formed for pursuing a single state policy in the field of combating corruption, for introduction of an integral approach to enhancement of personal responsibility of staff when keeping to the main principles of civil service, intensification of resistance to various negative manifestations and abuses.
The measures taken have basically intensified combating of corruption. The activities of law-enforcement bodies, directed at uncovering and preventing corruption, have also become more intense. Therefore, in 1998 the courts considered 6,531 cases on corruption, which is 30.6 percent more than in 1997. The combat against one more type of corruption, bribe-taking, was more effective. The number of exposed crimes falling into this category have grown by more than 10 percent (2,216 in 1997, 2,448 in 1998).
Therefore, if we look at the previous year, such officials as former Deputy Head of Crimean Parliament and former Deputy Minister of Economy of the Crimean Republic were charged with corruption.
In Zhitomir Oblast, the Head of Skalaty city council was charged with illegally spending about 35,000 hryvnias from the budget, through abuse of authority.
In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, criminal proceedings have been initiated against the Head of Dniprorudny city council, who, through abuse of authority, gave an instruction to transfer 105,000 hryvnias, meant to be paid out as salaries to the account of a certain joint stock company. The losses have been reimbursed.
In Ternopil Oblast, criminal proceedings have been initiated against a civil servant from the Buchatsky office of Ukraine’s pension fund, who over the course of 1996-1997 by means of extortion for offering lower pension taxes and exemption from those, took bribes from local entrepreneurs. There have been 8 registered cases of bribe-taking amounting to some 950 hryvnias.
Last June, criminal proceedings have been initiated in connection with the facts of large-scale stealing from the budget funds in the Rivne state administration. In the course of investigating the criminal case, it has been determined that numerous facts of stealing funds have taken place at the administration by means of forged documents for financial assistance to low- income individuals. There also were reports that allowed the local state administration officials to receive and misappropriate funds. The Head of local state administration secretariat and former Deputy Head of the local council have been arrested.
Criminal proceedings for bribe-taking have been initiated against five officials of the Ministry of Agroindustrial Complex, including the Deputy Heads of Main Departments G.Kramarenko and V.Polishtshuk.
Zaliznychnyi District Court of the City of Simferopol has considered a criminal case against a member of a criminal grouping, Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Head of the Permanent Commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea on economic and budget-financial policy V.Shpilkin who, when abusing his position, has stolen budget money equal to USD 89,000, and property worth 990 hryvnias belonging to the Ministry of Defense. He was sentenced to 5 years of prison.
A case of corruption has been uncovered in Poltava Oblast where the Head of the Dikanka District State Administration S.Kolotiy ordered to allot 3,550 hryvnias from the reserve fund of the district state administration, although he knew that such expenses were not foreseen by the district budget, i.e. he changed the budget incomes and outlays against the order, established by the law. It also was established that S.Kolotiy has ordered an interest-free loan to the Dikanka Integrated Enterprise of Public Catering, something that is against the provisions of the law On Budget System of Ukraine. In this case the losses amounted to 10,150 hryvnias.
A criminal grouping included some officials from the Dubrovitsia district, has been revealed in the Rivne Oblast. The grouping stole large sums of money from the Chornobyl Fund, and took bribes for resettlement of citizens from the Chornobyl zone and for reimbursements for housing, left in the zone. Larceny of money of the Chornobyl Fund amounting to the sum of more than 150,000 hryvnias was established and legally defined. Bribe-taking by the officials amounting to $ 30,000 has been exposed.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rivne Oblast instituted seven criminal cases against a number of officials; in particular S.Yurko, head of Dubrovitsy district state administration, who was accused of ten bribe-taking cases totaling over 20,000 hryvnias. He has been arrested.
On the whole, in the past year the courts made answerable for corruptible actions 1,584 state officials, 290 heads of local councils of people’s deputies, 199 workers of the state tax office, 121 workers of internal affairs departments, 5 workers of the Public Prosecutors Office and 86 workers of other law-enforcement authorities.
Unfortunately, there are cases when persons get themselves elected not to represent the interest of their electors but to get the inviolability of a deputy. Therefore, on the initiative of the President of Ukraine, to combat this disgraceful phenomenon, in 1998 the inviolability of the deputies of local councils was abolished. It made possible to uncover and make answerable 12 deputies of local councils and to reduce the quantity of manifestations of the unlawful actions by the stated category of the persons.
At present, the President of Ukraine is working on amendments which would limit the inviolability of the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in case they commit a crime.
At the same time, the practice of combating corruption in the state has revealed quite a few essential shortcomings in its legislative support. Thus, the legislation in force has no clear determination of the term "corruptible action". The legal relations in banking, financial and foreign economic sectors are insufficiently regulated. A lot of misunderstanding and legal collisions appear in commercial activities.
To get rid of these shortcomings, on the instruction of the President of Ukraine, the relevant amendments to the legislation in force were developed and the drafts of new criminal, and civil codes of Ukraine were introduced for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada, the drafts of the additions to the laws of Ukraine On combating corruption, On state service, On combating the laundering of proceeds from crime, On responsibility for untimely return of funds that illegally stay outside Ukraine, On property have been developed and prepared for consideration by the parliament, and the whole number of draft laws and amendments to the current legislation which regulate economic relations in the state and commercial activities.
Understanding that manifestations of corruption objectively have the background stipulated by the economic situation in the country, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine make every effort aimed at achievement of positive changes in this sphere of social life.
To provide for interaction in combating corruption at the interstate level, Ukraine has concluded a number of bilateral treaties on rendering assistance in criminal and civil cases, and has accessed to the relevant multilateral European conventions. On January 27, 1999, in particular, the Criminal Convention on Combating Corruption was signed. In this connection, Ukraine’s leadership expresses hopes for active cooperation with the world community over the issues of combating corruption and would be grateful for rendering consultative, methodical and technical assistance in this regard.
The President and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine are resolved to continue uncompromising struggle against manifestations of corruption and other unlawful actions at all levels of the state power.