Analysis. Public finances. Budget of Kiev Articles.

Public Anti-Corruption Campaign "Return the billions to local budgets" launched in Kyiv

Tuesday, 09 December 2014 443
The campaign aims to unshadow the resources of local budgets. The Kyiv example demonstrates how the billions of hryvnias remain in the shadows, despite the promises of the city authorities to make "a devastating attack on corruption." The presented methodological approaches, coupled with the joined action, will increase the effectiveness of public activists, journalists and bloggers’ fight against land, property and budget manipulations.

On December 9th the Open Society Foundation, "Reanimation package of reforms - Kyiv" (RPR-Kyiv), the Institute of Mass Information and IRAR/AMDI presented the anti-corruption public campaign "Return the billions to local budgets”. Organizers dedicated the  presentation to the International Anti-Corruption Day.

The event organizers presented their methodological approaches (the analysis of urban planning documents, urban strategies and programs, index-cadastral maps of land) and revealed the hidden billions belonging to local budget, using the example of Kyiv.

The launch of public campaign in Kyiv was due to severe fraud in land management and manipulations with urban planning documentation. Kyiv city authorities did not dare to break the well-known corruption schemes. Billions of hryvnias by-pass the city budget. The city officials traditionally offer to fill the local budget with the government support (with 100% personal income tax remaining at the local) and with double increase of public transport fares. "The devastating attack on corruption" promised by Vitaliy Klytschko remains nowhere to be seen.

The experts of the Open Society Foundation and RPR-Kyiv will develop a new anti-corruption program for Kyiv. Within the last two years Kyiv authorities have dialed to adopt the relevant municipal target program. Lesya Shevchenko, the senior expert of RPR-Kyiv, announced the readiness of Kyiv City Council to jointly develop a new program. She noted that the new anti-corruption program for Kyiv should not contain such formalities as ‘fixing the appeals with no substance’, which aim at minor corruption risks. The new program should prevent significant corruption practices in land, urban planning and budget spheres, and reduce the risk of corruption in the city government.

The Director of the Open Society Foundation Ivan Sikora believes that ‘city budget revenues are closely tied to openness, transparency and accessibility of information on land and urban planning documentation’. Development of the General plans, the plans of land and business organization for urban planning and implementation of the District schemes, usually, aims to legalize the land frauds and transfer of agricultural, strategic, transportation, recreational, historical and cultural lands for residential and commercial construction.

Sergiy Pantsyr, the Senior Analyst at IRAR /AMDI pointed out that agricultural land is 70% of the territory of the country. Corruption risks associated with the use of these territories concern its distribution, rent and change of the designated use. In his view, it is important to prevent corrupt cartel schemes and improve public access to the information.

Olga Shalayska, the Institute for Media Information, stressed the importance of such initiatives to improve the quality of investigative journalism in Ukraine's capital and the regions of Ukraine.

The expert in urban development Victor Gleba estimated the scale of corruption in urban planning and pointed to specific examples of the land fraud and the development permits. In particular the areas of public land and housing development areas in Kyiv differ in hundreds of hectares and are being estimated using the different approaches. He calculated that "the shadow profits in Kyiv land resources management and urban planning constitute an average UAH 1.5 billion per year."

The organizers presented the ‘secret’ map of Kyiv construction areas. It is used for land management and issuing of permits for design and further construction. In Pechersk district of Kyiv only about 70 construction sites were found in place of parks, hospitals, sport facilities and playgrounds, industrial facilities and urban beautification land with the total area of about 94.98 hectares. Living space of these sites is about 3.7 million square meters. The construction cost is nearly USD 7 billion. The base value of these 70 land plots is UAH 2 billion (2170 UAH/ square meter). Land lease income using commercial rates (100 UAH/ month for 1 square meter) would be UAH 1 billion per year. At present, only 10% of these sites are in private property; the remaining plots are leased out with reduced regulatory and monetary evaluation. The local authorities and the Department of Land Resources of Kyiv City State Administration’ inability to fight corruption costs Kyiv budget one billion of hryvnias annually.

The joint efforts of experts, analysts, activists and journalists will return the billions to local budgets. The proponents of the anti-corruption campaign invite the activist groups and local authorities in different parts of Kyiv and different regions of Ukraine to join the initiative.

For more information on land fraud and construction permit schemes check the article “2025 General Plan for Kyiv: the Capital City or the Mega-Village”, published in Dzerkalo Tyzhnya.

Join the campaign! Together we can unshadow the billions of hryvnias. To join the initiative please contact info@osf.org.ua.

The event was held in frames of the project "Public Control in Kyiv: Monitoring the Development and Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Policy in Kyiv" implemented by the Open Society Foundation and supported by the International Renaissance Foundation.

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