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Cancellation of an article for illegal enrichment is an indulgence for corrupt officials in Ukraine – Transparency International

The cancellation of an article in Ukraine for illegal enrichment means a full amnesty and indulgence for absolutely all officials with a dubious condition, which means it virtually eliminates the entire anti-corruption reform in Ukraine. This is announced by Transparency International Ukraine (TI) on its website.

This decision of the Constitutional Court will lead to the closure of at least 50 cases of likely illegal enrichment of top officials, who are still investigating NABU, as well as the closure of the proceedings, which are currently being heard in the courts, according to a TI statement signed by another 10 organizations.

It is noted that all subjects of e-declaration will receive an indulgence on dubious income received in the past two and a half years, after the annulment of the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on liability for illegal enrichment.

The decision on the unconstitutionality of this article of the Criminal Code will have the opposite effect in time. The state of officials, whose value by millions of hryvnias exceeds the official incomes of these civil servants, may turn out to be legitimate.

The abolition of liability for illegal enrichment destroys the concept of e-declaring officials. The declaration system will be transformed from a mechanism of exposing corruption states and initiating accountability to a system of informing the population about the enrichment of officials. In the absence of responsibility for illegal enrichment, officials will declare a luxurious state without any fear and without legal consequences.

The TI also notes that the decriminalization of illicit enrichment violates Ukraine’s international obligations and may lead to the termination of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF rules provide for refusal to finance a program with a country that has not fulfilled any of the important obligations of previous years, even in the case of full implementation of current obligations. It also emphasizes the absence of legal grounds for considering the crime of illicit enrichment to be unconstitutional and one that violates the presumption of innocence.

“The burden of proving the crime of illegal enrichment rests with the prosecution. Thus, to qualify an act under Article 3682 of the Criminal Code, the prosecutor’s office will have to prove the presence of all the elements of the relevant offense,” the anti-corruption officials explained.

At the same time, the statement says, even if the provision of Article 3682 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine limited the principle of the presumption of innocence, this would not prevent the criminalization of unlawful enrichment and bringing to criminal responsibility of people who have been enriched illegally.

The practice of the European Court of Human Rights (the decision in the case of Salabiaku v. France) proves that when it comes to important public interests, and the human right to protection is secured, the criminal law allows a reasonable and proportionate assumption regarding a particular fact or right.

It is worth recalling that the wording of article 368-2 of the Criminal Code on liability for illegal enrichment is consistent with the UN Convention against Corruption, which Ukraine ratified in 2006.

Information taken from: https://strana.ua/news/188482-v-transparency-international-raskritikovali-otmenu-ukrainoj-stati-o-nezakonnom-obohashchenii.html