Penalty for false information in asset declarations, SSU reform, and 70 years old civil servants: bills on the parliamentary agenda

01 December 2020
Penalty for false information in asset declarations, SSU reform, and 70 years old civil servants: bills on the parliamentary agenda
Home > Monitoring > Penalty for false information in asset declarations, SSU reform, and 70 years old civil servants: bills on the parliamentary agenda

This plenary week MPs will make decisions of state importance. In particular, they will address the consequences of the Constitutional Court’s decision on asset declarations, innovations in the Security Service, and permission for civil servants over the retirement age to continue working.

Restore penalty for providing false information in asset declarations (4434)

Status: first reading. MPs can still submit amendments.

Who is affected: civil servants, local governments’ employees, judges, law enforcement, MPs, other top officials, and Ukrainian citizens.

What does it change:

  • providing false information in asset declarations will be considered an administrative offense if actual information differs from the reported by ₴1,700 to ₴8,500 (instead of to ₴4,250)
  • new elements of crime will be introduced: deliberate lying in asset declaration and deliberate failure to submit an asset declaration. These crimes will be investigated by the NABU
  • more public officials will be included in the list of positions of responsibility or special responsibility: the head and commissioners of the Anti-Monopoly Committee, members and inspectors of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges, the First Deputy of the NABU Director, the Head of the NAPC, the Head of the Office of the President, his First Deputy and his Deputy
  • candidates for management positions in the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces will not subject to special background check procedures.

What is right: the bill solves some of the problems caused by the Constitutional Court’s decision on asset declarations.

What is wrong:

  • it will be almost impossible for the investigators and prosecutors to prove that false information in asset declarations was provided on purpose (the same goes for failures to submit a declaration)
  • the Ministry of Defense and the Security Service administer substantial funds and have powers to influence business. Thus, it is reasonable to maintain control over both government bodies, and without special background check procedures it will be harder to ensure such control.

Reform Security Service of Ukraine (3196-d)

Status: first reading. MPs can still submit amendments.

Who is affected: terrorists, saboteurs, agents of foreign intelligence services, Ukrainian citizens, business, and employees of the Security Service.

What does it change:

  • persons whose close relatives live in the aggressor state will not be allowed to work in the Security Service
  • the bill proposes a significant reduction of the SSU staff since the Service will no more be responsible for fighting corruption and overall protection of the economy
  • the Security Service will be deprived of some of its assets that are non-essential and take a significant number of maintenance personnel. For example, one of the biggest SSU departments is the general services department that provides services for the SSU and facilities the Service owns (several mountain and sea health resorts, kindergartens, polyclinics, hostels, etc.)

What is right:

  • the bill makes it possible to quickly reduce the SSU staff by half or even more (approximately to 12-15 thousand)
  • functions of the SSU and the NABU will not overlap anymore
  • without the authority to conduct pretrial investigations, fight corruption, and protect the economy, higher-ups in the Service will be less tempted to interfere with investigations, cover violations made while conducting criminal investigations, or resort to political repressions.

What is wrong:

  • the SSU will still remain under the President, although he does not have such authority according to the Constitution
  • the President will still approve the organizational structure of the SSU upon the submission by the Head of the SSU and set the limit on the number of the SSU staff. It goes against the Constitution and interferes with the work of the SSU.

To know more about the draft bill, please check the article by Nazar Zabolotnyi, the analyst of the Centre of United Actions: SSU reform: to change and survive or stay still and make profits.

Stop discrimination of civil servants (4096)

Status: first reading. MPs can still submit amendments.

Who is affectedcivil servants, government bodies, Ukrainian citizens, and the Cabinet.

What does it change:

  • civil servants will be allowed to work until the age of 70 years (now the limit is 65). After 65, they will serve under annual contracts
  • civil servants of 65 years and up to 70 will be able to apply for reappointment under annual contracts without competition
  • civil servants will be able to receive one-time severance pay if they wish so.

What is wrong:

  • changes proposed by the bill will de facto drive the civil service into stagnation: old personnel will stay put while new candidates will have no opportunity to become civil servants
  • extending the age range for civil servants hinders the development of the service. At the same time, the service has to deal with new demanding political challenges that require innovative approaches
  • as the result of the proposed changes, older civil servants can form a closed community more interested in preserving their positions than professional and technological development of the service.

Create Bureau of Economic Security (3087-d)

Statussecond reading. The bill is ready to be adopted.

Who is affectedbusiness, investors, the Cabinet, and the President.

What does it changea new law enforcement agency will be created — the Bureau of Economic Security (BES). This new body will be responsible for preventing, detecting, stopping, investigating, and solving crimes related to taxation and customs.

What is rightin a draft for the second reading, several provisions were excluded: the President will not have the authority to dismiss the BES Director, create the BES, approve its organizational structure, etc.

What is wrong:

  • the bill extends the authority of the President and the Parliament in an unconstitutional manner: a contest committee for selection of the ESB Director includes members proposed by the National Security and Defense Council (the President and the Verkhovna Rada implement NSDC’ decisions)
  • a dismissal procedure makes the ESB Director dependent on the Prime Minister. One of the legitimate reasons to fire the ESB Director is Cabinet’s dissatisfaction with the annual ESB report. Under such circumstances, the ESB Director will not be able to exercise their powers impartially.