In 2016, an electronic system of declaration of assets and revenues of public officials was launched. It was perceived by both Ukrainian society and Ukraine’s international partners as an important step towards effective corruption prevention and counteraction. After the e-declarations register was transferred for administration to the state enterprise “Ukrainian specialized systems”, serious problems with its functioning have occurred.
Experts of anticorruption group of the Reanimation Package of Reforms have repeatedly called to transfer the administration of the register to the National Agency on Corruption Prevention and to conduct an impartial technical audit.
International partners of Ukraine, in their turn, have also expressed the readiness to support such an expert examination. However, attempts to inspect the technical condition of the register were disrupted due to the access denial to the register by the State Enterprise “Ukrainian specialized systems” and the State Service of Special Communication.
On the 27th of November, the NACP announced a tender for the audit of the electronic declarations register, the terms of which, according to experts, will not ensure the objectivity of its prospective audit. Furthermore, as for now the NACP, which is the contract specifier, de facto created all the prerequisites for a biased analysis of the system’s working conditions with the further negative conclusion of the auditors.
In particular, a below-threshold price was introduced in the amount of 199 000 UAH, which reduces the competition and permits to choose only the predetermined winner of the tender. Insufficient term to submit tender proposals – from the 27th of November to the 4th of December – would not allow to engage companies that were not informed and invited to participate in the auctions by the insiders in advance.
Moreover, further requirements for companies participating in the tender are unjustified: to be a resident of Ukraine, not to have foreign statutory capital and foreign citizens among founders, to have at least 10 years of experience in the Ukrainian market, and to have the right of an access to state secrets at the moment of the tender procedure. It limits the competition even more and does not permit the international companies to participate in the tender.
Additionally, experts express serious doubts concerning the possibility to conduct technical audit of the e-declarations register before the 22nd of December, as it is stated in the documents of audit services purchase by the NACP.
The experts of RPR group on anticorruption reform emphasize that creation of e-declaration system is one of the biggest achievements of the anticorruption reform, while its uninterrupted functioning is an important condition for the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU. Taking this into consideration, the public demands from the National Agency on Corruption Prevention to announce a new tender for conducting a technical audit of the functioning of e-declarations register on competitive terms. This will provide an opportunity to carry out the audit involving independent international experts with impeccable reputation and significant professional experience. This will, in turn, guarantee the objectivity of the audit conclusion and the trust of both Ukraine’s society and the international partners towards it.