MPs propose canceling criminal liability of Ukrainian officials for illegal enrichment

A group of people's deputies have proposed introducing amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which will relieve officials of liability for obtaining a fortune whose origin they cannot explain, the Anti-Corruption Action Center has reported.

"Deputies from the ruling coalition propose reliving officials from accountability for receiving or transferring to others a fortune whose origin they cannot explain. At the same time, it will be possible to bring a potential corrupt official to account only if the property was acquired illegally," the organization said in a statement on Tuesday, January 23.

According to the center, bill No. 7499 on the introduction of amendments to Article 368-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine aimed at bringing its provisions into line with the requirements of the Constitution of Ukraine will abolish the accountability for illegal enrichment.

"After all, the idea of this article of the Criminal Code is that the possession by a state official of a fortune that does not correspond to his official income is a direct sign of corruption, and therefore an independent crime. It is the criminalization of illegal enrichment that should have ensured the rapid identification and punishment of corrupt officials," the organization said.

The center predicts that if the bill is adopted, many high-profile criminal cases will be closed.

The organization also recalls that criminal liability for illegal enrichment in Ukraine was introduced in 2015, and this was one of the requirements of the EU in the implementation of the action plan for visa liberalization, as well as one of Ukraine's obligations to the IMF.

In its current wording, Article 368-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal enrichment) states that the receipt by an official of a significant amount of assets, the legality of the grounds for obtaining which is not confirmed by evidence, as well as the transfer of such assets to any other person, is punishable by deprivation of liberty for up to two years, with no right to hold certain posts or engage in certain activities for up to three years.

The authors of the bill are MPs from the factions of the People's Front (Vladyslav Danilin and Oleksandr Kirsh) and the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (Hennadiy Chekita and Andriy Shynkovich).

The explanatory note to the bill notes that the current provision of Article 368-2 of the Criminal Code needs to be changed, since it does not comply with the Constitution of Ukraine, in particular, the right to the presumption of innocence.