Kiev, Ukraine. That a lot of Ukraine’s political class are wealthy is not a secret, but the electronic disclosures which have became mandatory as part of a long-awaited reform program give a next-level glimpse into how corrupt the Poroshenko Administration truly is.
Ukraine is a country where the average monthly income is roughly $200, yet there are revelations that elected officials have personal holdings worth hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and eccentric items, like Fabergé eggs, Japanese art, Nazi daggers and even a ticket to space, are now causing a public uproar.
The Ukrainian declaration system mandates that officials publicly disclose all assets in their name, as well as those in the name of their family members. The intention of the declarations is first to provide transparency and do away with the corrupt practices.
By making public the wealth of officials, it opens them not only to scrutiny but also potentially to criminal prosecution for a false disclosure. There is just one minor problem-there are no courts corrupt proof to try those from a system of government characterized by corruption and influenced by oligarchs.
The filings of the country’s top leadership were particularly staggering: Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who has been a public official for the past 14 years, declared that he and his wife hold the equivalent of more than $1.8 million, not including a collection of 12 luxury watches that varied in value from $10,000 to $20,000 each.
The declaration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire who ran a successful chocolate business before he was elected president in May 2014, revealed $26.3 million in bank accounts and ownership of 104 companies.
Ihor Kononenko, the deputy head of Poroshenko’s parliamentary faction, declared more than $72 million in real estate assets. The declaration of Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister, showed hundreds of thousands of dollars and euros in cash and expensive paintings, clocks, and vintage wines worth millions of dollars.
The declarations come as public disillusionment over the government’s inability to enact reforms is rising and fatigue among Ukraine’s Western backers over rampant corruption is high. The Ukrainian Rada has refused to set up a court system for corruption cases. As the law currently stands, you can be arrested for corruption, bribe a Judge openly in court (they have immunity from prosecution) and be on your way in time for dinner.