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President signs "visa-free" law on e-declarations

Officials will be filling in declarations in 2016.

President signs "visa-free" law on e-declarations
Photo: Presidnet's press service

President Petro Poroshenko has signed the law "On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine regarding peculiarities of officials’ declarations concerning their property, income, expenses and financial obligations in 2016", which was passed by the Parliament on Tuesday.

The press service of the President reported this on the night of 16 March.

The President signed the law during the meeting with representatives of the Commission on electing members of the National Agency for Corruption Prevention. The document is included into the legislative package required for the visa-free regime with the European Union for Ukrainians.

"In 2016 this law comes into force. Officials will be filling in declarations in 2016 and the responsibility will come in 2016. In your presence I am signing this law," the President said.

Poroshenko emphasized that all the laws and changes to be included into the "visa-free package" are important for Ukraine and directed at the fight against corruption.

In his turn, head of the EU delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski, who was also present at the meeting, welcomed passing the law and pointed out that experts of the European Commission had been involved in drafting that document.

As reported before, the Verkhovna Rada had taken into account the President's suggestions and passed the law on electronic declarations of officials’ income on 15 March. The amendments to the law are agreed with the EU within the framework of the visa-free dialogue. Starting from April, officials will have to fill in the detailed electronic form by declaring their incomes.

The law on electronic declaration was passed last year, though the MPs postponed its launch by 2017 after the adoption of the state budget for 2016. The Parliament declined this standard, which, in fact, emptied the law – it postponed the criminal responsibility for false data and foresaw a number of opportunities to conceal incomes. The European Union, in response, postponed the visa-free regime for Ukraine. In the result, Poroshenko vetoed that law and agreed on the amendments in the document with the EU.

According to these amendments, the criminal responsibility for concealing incomes comes into force since 1 April 2016, although, only if the stated data differ from the factual in the amount exceeding 250 minimum living wages, i.e. 344, 450 hryvnyas (13,211 dollars).

The law also presupposes, besides the imprisonment for two years, a fine from 2,500 to 3,500 personal tax exemption limits (one such limit equals 17 hryvnyas or 0,65 dollars) or public works from 150 to 240 hours.