In July last year, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman issued instructions on conducting a technical expert examination of the e-declaration system with the engagement of independent experts (Minutes of the meeting No.29062/0/1-17). The public has repeatedly called for this, and international partners have expressed their readiness to facilitate such a procedure. This technical audit is important not only for the proper and continuous functioning of the electronic declarations register, but also for the complete launch of their automated verification. Ensuring the functioning of the declaration system in its entirety is, in turn, identified as one of the key priorities in line with the Medium-Term Plan of Priority Actions for the Government until 2020.
Over the past three months, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption has announced a tender for the selection of auditors to assess the technical condition of the e-declarations register three times. Announced back in November 2017, the first tender was pre-threshold, contained a number of discriminatory requirements that limited the range of potential participants and prevented renowned international companies from participation. Back then the public expressed the demand to cancel the procurement and not to impose discriminatory requirements for the participants.
In January 2018, National Agency for Prevention of Corruption announced the tender for the second time having increased the expected procurement cost to 500 thousand UAH and improved the requirements for the participants. However, tender documentation yet again contained a number of requirements limiting the range of potential system auditors and limiting the participation of renowned international companies. In particular, there is a discriminatory requirement for participating companies about the availability of at least 5-year experience in the Ukrainian market; conditions have to be created to process privileged information and the company should have a certificate of conformity or expert opinion the provision of which in Ukraine is associated with the State Special Communications Service of Ukraine.
On February 5, another tender for the provision of technical audit services for the e-declarations system was announced – with the same requirements and tender documentation. If this time around the bids are too few for an open bidding, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption will have the right to choose an auditing company at its own discretion without an open competition through the so called negotiation procedure. Taking into account the established requirements, the audit will most probably be carried out either by a subordinate entity of the State Special Communications Service of Ukraine (which repeatedly resorted to discrediting electronic declarations register) or a private company associated with it.
Since September 2016, when electronic declarations system was launched in Ukraine, the State Special Communications Service and its subordinate structures have repeatedly resorted to discrediting electronic declarations register by delaying the issuance of information protection certificate, falsifying an electronic key in the name of an NACP member, simulating the system “hacking” and not allowing foreign experts to independently assess the state of e-declarations register.
RPR experts are convinced that the trust in the technical audit of e-declarations system can be ensured only through the participation of independent organizations. Therefore, RPR calls on Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to ensure compliance with his instruction according to the Minutes of the meeting No.29062/0/1-17 of July 14 (19), 2017 to enable an unbiased and impartial technical audit of the e-declarations systems which conclusions will be considered reliable by both society and international partners.
Proper functioning of e-declaration system remains among the key priorities of Ukraine’s international partners, and termination of e-declarations register’s operation will be a direct violation of Ukraine’s international commitments.