Christiana Stilianidou 27 • 11 • 2019

CIDA Parliamentary Committee announcement allows correction of asset declarations after submission deadline

Christiana Stilianidou
CIDA Parliamentary Committee announcement allows correction of asset declarations after submission deadline
27 • 11 • 2019

The CIDA Parliamentary Committee issues an announcement declaring it possible to correct asset declaration statements that have already been submitted before the Committee. The fact that this change has been issued in this way, without a legislative authority to legitimise the decision, as well as the fact that the ability to correct these declarations violates the exclusive nature of the deadlines for submission established in Law 3213/2003, raises a number of concerns, not least for the effect that this may have on the timely scrutiny of asset declarations.

The Committee of Parliament for the Investigation of Declarations of Assets (CIDA) of Article 3A of law 3213/2003 is a special body which performs a dual role. It is one of the control bodies that verify the declarations of assets of politicians and judicial officials, while at the same time it is the body that audits the finances of political parties and MPs, according to the provisions of law 3023/2002. 

The provisions of law 3213/2003 provide specific deadlines for both the submission and the amendment of asset declarations. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in both administrative and criminal sanctions. 

With its announcement of 22-11-2019, the CIDA Committee declared that, “in its meeting of 6.11.2019, the Committee decided to allow the possibility of correcting (via the submission of an amending statement) asset declaration statements for which the submission deadline has already passed. The above opportunity will be given in December 2019,  for all statements submitted to the Committee before this date.” In this way, the deadline for submitting and amending asset declarations is extended exclusively to the persons under the jurisdiction of the Committee (politicians and court officials).

However, this decision directly violates the exclusive character of the deadlines for the submission and amendment of asset declaration statements that are established in Law 3213/2003, and is therefore issued in violation of the provisions of this law. Also, the fact that this extension is given exclusively to certain groups of people: i.e. those under the jurisdiction of the CIDA Committee, and does not apply to other groups obliged to submit asset declarations under the original terms established by law 3213, it could also be considered to be a violation of the constitutional principle of equality, as there is no specific reason why this change should apply to some groups and not others. 

Furthermore, the fact that this extension takes place without any corresponding legislative provision extending the deadlines, or giving the relevant legislative authority to the Committee in question to empower it to make such a decision, also raises questions about the legality and expediency of this extension.

It is worth noting that the enactment of article 29 of law 4760/2020, which gave all those obliged to submit asset declarations the opportunity to confirm or amend asset declarations that had been submitted in 2016, 2017, 2018, not only does not dispel the above concerns, but also creates further concerns as to the expediency that this provision ultimately served.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

The obligation to submit asset declarations aims to enhance transparency and strengthen democracy, and is a key tool in preventing corruption. Law 3213/2003 is the main law that regulates the issue and provides specific deadlines within which the declarations must be submitted.

However, in this case, the CIDA Committee, without legislative authorization, decided to allow for the correction or amendment of asset declarations that have already been submitted, and whose deadline for submission has passed.

The fact that this possibility of correction is not given time limits, and could therefore potentially be extended to all asset declarations regardless of the time of their submission, is just one of the concerns that arise regarding the legality and expediency of this decision.

Christiana Stilianidou
Submit a report if you have detected a violation of the rule of law!
Support govwatch