Anti-corruption law passes in Abkhazia, activists still not satisfied – why?
After almost three years of struggle and the appearance of a tent camp near the parliament in Abkhazia, a law was adopted on the fight against corruption among officials and MPs. However, contrary to expectations, this did not please activists and supporters of the adoption of the law.
What does the law say?
An initiative group led by former Abkhaz presidential candidate Astamur Kakalia has led the attempt to force the parliament to adopt this law since 2018, which would criminalize illegal enrichment for officials, as well as ratify article 20 of the UN Convention against Corruption.
On February 6, the parliament of Abkhazia adopted the law “On the declaration of income, expenses, property, property obligations by public servants and deputies.”
This is a requirement for cases where the transaction amount exceeds the total income of the official and his family members for the two years preceding the transaction.
It should also include detailed information on the sources of funds received, due to which the transaction was concluded.
According to MP Astamur Logua, who led the working group to draft the bill, these declarations will be public and accessible to anyone who wants to, as they will be published on the official website of the Ministry of Taxes and Dues.
But the activists who themselves have lobbied for years for the law now say it’s not enough. Why?
What are the gaps in the new law
Activists see two main problems:
• The list of family members of officials who are also required to file a declaration of income and transactions did not include adult children of officials and deputies. Moreover, the law generally prohibits providing information about the official’s family.
• Officially, the law will enter into force only on December 30, 2020. By this time, the Parliament is obliged to adopt the accompanying law “On Public Service”.
“You adopted not a law, but a fake,” said activist leader Astamur Kakalia during a meeting with deputies.
“Until the end of the year, corrupt officials can safely, without fear of exposure, illegally enrich themselves. For another 11 months, their assets and seats will be out of danger. Both new ministers and new appointees will take office without declaring property and not be responsible for the lies in the declarations, ”said Kakalia.
He stated that in the form in which the law was adopted, it would not work.
What actions the activists will take, they have not yet reported. But the tents which appeared at the parliament on February 4 were removed immediately after the adoption of the law.