In Tajikistan, over the last three years, public officials are submitting assets and income declarations. Officials themselves believe that these declarations have to be verified. Experts state that this procedure is useless without declarations being publishing.
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According to Ayubjon Solekhzoda, First Deputy Chairman of the Tax Committee under the Government of Tajikistan, for the last three years, officials’ statements were submitted in digital form and were always kept confidential.Meanwhile, officials themselves doubt the reliability of the declared data. According to Jumakhon Davlatzoda, Director of the Agency of Civil Service under the President of Tajikistan, most public officials’ declarations state that they do not own real estate; they either rent an apartment or live with their parents.
According to him, the legislation of Tajikistan does not indicate any institution responsible for verifying the accuracy of information on real estate indicated in the officials’ declarations.
Nigora Mukimi, the Head of the International and Public Relations Department at the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption of Tajikistan, said the legislation does not allow the anti-corruption body to audit declarations.
“Only the human resources departments of certain institutions have access to declarations. The submitted declarations are confidential and might be published only if a criminal case is opened. Parliament at the legislation level should determine the body which would carry out the audit,” says Nigora Mukimi.
At the same time, Rajabmurod Tolibov, the Head of the Legal Support and Control Department of the Agency of Civil Service under the President of Tajikistan, clarified that under article 17 of the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Civil Service”, this body and human resources departments of the Executive Office of the President and relevant departments and ministries have the right to audit the declarations in case of doubt.
Article 17 was added to the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Civil Service” in 2014.
However, Tolibov added that this article does not mean that human resources departments become the centralized bodies for conducting such audit.
Note that the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Fighting Corruption (article 8) provides that the information in declarations “will not be disclosed, unless otherwise provided by law”.
Under applicable law, public officers are required to submit income declarations by April 1 to the Tax Service, as well as a finance declaration at the place of work.
Jumakhon Davlatzoda, Director of the Agency of Civil Service, clarified that these requirements are contained in the laws “On Civil Service”, “On Fighting Corruption” and the Tax Code.
All candidates for public positions, including deputies, under the laws of the Republic of Tajikistan, are required to submit annual income declarations to the tax authorities at the place of residence.
Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Fighting Corruption”
Article 8. Measures of Financial Control
Persons, being the candidates on public positions upon appointment (election) to a position and persons authorized to perform public functions, annually, in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan, shall submit income declarations to the tax authorities at the place of residence.
Including information on:
– Total income from all sources;
– The costs of real estate and portable property separately, which are equal to more than two thousand indicators, as well as beyond the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan or temporarily held by another person, indicating the cost and address;
– Bank deposits, as well as beyond the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan, and on securities possessed personally or in conjunction with other persons;
– Direct or indirect participation as a shareholder or incorporator (participant) of legal entities, dekhkan farms, other business entities and funds specifying the participatory share in the charter capital;
– Debt in the amount of over 500 indicators and other financial obligations, as well as beyond the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan;
– Family property information.
Each member of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and members of his family shall annually submit assets and income declarations. Candidates for public positions and equal officials, employees holding public office and equal workers, heads of state bodies and local executive authorities of cities and villages shall submit assets declaration to the Administration of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the mayor of the city, or to the relevant district.
According to the Law “On Fighting Corruption”, in the case of “non-provision or provision of false information about the property in order to conceal information”, the declarant may be dismissed.
The Agency of Civil Service under the President of Tajikistan reports that it monitors the procedures of filling the assets and income declarations by state employees annually.
The monitoring of public officials’ assets declarations revealed that of 18,790 people working in public service, 18,648 or 99.24% submitted declarations on time before April 1, 2019. At the same time, 142 people or 0.76% of public officials did not.
Among the violators, there are 20 state officials, including 7 from central government bodies and 13 from local executive authorities.Risolat Saifiddinova, deputy head of the Legal Support and Control Department of the Agency of Civil Service under the President of Tajikistan, said that three state officials who did not submit assets and income declarations were dismissed from their jobs. Two of them were the heads of departments on work with youth (the city of Konibodom and Pyanj district); another one was an employee of the military registration office in one of the jamoats of Shaartuz district.
CABAR.asia journalist could not find these people to specify the reasons for the violations.
Experts: Without Publishing Declarations, This Procedure Is Useless
Tajik lawyer Shokirjon Khakimov believes that the introduction of mandatory public officials’ declaration had no practical effect.
“As law enforcement practice shows, no serious qualitative changes have occurred in this regard, since the corruption level has not decreased. The submitted declarations are not accessible to wider public and interested parties cannot use them in their analytical materials, except for law enforcement agencies,” said Khakimov.
Answering the question about which institution should audit declarations, Khakimov noted that there are no special anti-corruption departments in many developed countries.
“Another problem is that almost all law enforcement bodies are fighting corruption, and the conflict of interests between them, of course, hinders the policy of effective fight against these negative phenomena,” said Khakimov.
The lawyer believes that the publication of declarations is necessary, among other measures for the effective fight against corruption.
Aliakbar Abdulloev, head of the public organization “Center for Anti-Corruption Education and Propaganda” in Tajikistan, recommended the Government to use Georgia’s experience in electronic declarations.
There is a single portal for electronic government in this country, where there is information about all public officers, including the head of state.
“For example, if you want to get information about a president or other official, all this information is available online, even personal information such as housing, cars and family businesses,” says Abdulloev.
This article was prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project