Date of publication: 31 August 2015
Roman Marchenko, Attorney at Law, Senior Partner
This year Ukraine is deeply engaged into fighting corruption. A great number of laws passed by the Parliament are directed at minimization of this phenomenon in public life.
In particular the people’s deputies favored establishment of the National anti-corruption bureau and the national police. Passed were the laws obliging the legal persons to disclose the final beneficiaries. Information from the register of movable and immovable property has become more accessible. The Cabinet of Ministers has created a register of corrupt officials containing the list of all dishonest public servants.
Careful attention of lawmakers towards problems with corruption is not accidental. It is not a secret that corruption is evil which kills the state. In the society there is a demand for creation of effective mechanisms for fighting corruption. At the same time foreign donors also put forwards similar demands towards Ukraine. Despite the fact that there are quite many methods for fighting corruption Ukraine has been experiencing problems in this battle. The reason of this is banal and terrible.
As it is known corruption works two ways. Oftentimes people accuse state officials of misappropriation of the state funds. At the same time they may not stop at taking a pack of paper or a stapler at work.
Ukrainians say that the state authorities do not fight corruption. At the same time a simple, but a striking example can be given: a great number of our people stopped for breaking the traffic rules are willing to “smoothen” the situation with a bribe.
It is worthwhile noticing that a lot of countries faced such kind of problems. Illustrative for us is an example of the USA. Is used to be possible to buy a position of a sheriff or a judge there, but the country has managed to conquer corruption in evolutionary manner. Today the USA is rightfully considered to be a bright example of effective fight with corruption.
Ukraine does not have much time. That is why we are trying to curb corruption by revolutionary methods. But, as it is known, revolution does not always bring positive results and we have what we have now (hoping that it is a temporary situation). A considerable part of the society lays a great deal of hopes onto future work of the National anti-corruption bureau, but effectiveness of its work will, first and foremost, depend on correct selection of personnel.
Each employee of the NACB must meet high moral and professional standards. They must be ready (and even better to give their voluntary consent for this) to have their phones monitored and their incomes (and incomes of their families) controlled. Investigators of the NACB must be aware that their activities will be closely monitored both by people and by the official authorities. We hope that when the NACB starts its work combating corruption in the country will be brought to a new level.
Apart from fighting corruption the people’s deputies should draw their attention to passing new laws on the state service which will allow solving the problem of ineffective work of the state officials. In the course of reformation of the state service it is necessary to follow the unified effective approach known from the times of the Roman Empire – the patronage and fear policy. The state must guarantee good income to its officials and simultaneously severe punish them for bribery and ineffective performance of their work duties.
It will not even be needed to allocate additional monetary funds from the budget. It will be enough to reduce a considerable part of the state apparatus (for example at the expense of absolutely inadequate quantity of various controlling authorities). The released funds may be directed at raising salaries of other state officials. Among those who are left a strict professional evaluation must be organized. At the same time the state must not only carry out reform of the state service, but also change approach towards its relations with business because currently state officials see businessmen as a source of wealth which, in the end, is equally terrible and leads to death of business.
The state officials and the people’s deputies must understand that sometimes they must meet business half-way which will bring very positive results. Good example is a real estate market. The cost of newly-built residential space is exorbitant. Among the reasons of such cost is the developers’ need to increase a price of a square meter by the amount of bribes paid to state officials of all levels. Today the deputies may only approve decisions on provision of land to developers under the simplified procedure and without any settlements of land fees. Instead the developer must provide an obligation to timely receive all permission documents and start construction process.
It will allow creating additional hundreds of thousands of working places in the country. Brick or cement factories will receive new orders for their products. Our fellow nationals will receive salaries and spend them in the sphere of services. The state budget will receive more taxes and deductions. Developers may decrease the price of apartments which will increase demand for newly-built apartments. The real estate market will wake up. As a result economies in every town and region will revive. In the long run from cooperation of business and the state authorities everybody will benefit.
Here a pressure decision must be made: not a bribe today, but a developed country tomorrow.