Christiana Stilianidou 29 • 12 • 2021

Extensions to the deadlines for the submission of asset declarations continue in 2021

Christiana Stilianidou
Extensions to the deadlines for the submission of asset declarations continue in 2021
29 • 12 • 2021

Law 3213/2003 provides specific deadlines within which asset declarations may be submitted or amended. However, in recent years, these deadlines have been repeatedly extended through legislation, a tactic that has continued in 2021. Delays in submitting asset declarations, in turn, lead to delays in verifying and auditing these declarations, with all that this entails for detecting and combating corruption.

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. Despite this fact, the deadlines are being constantly extended in recent years, a tactic that has been continued in 2021 (for extensions in previous years, see here). An amendment that was both submitted at the last minute, and was irrelevant in content to the object of the main bill, (now Article 68 of law  4871/2021) states, “declarations of assets and financial interests for the time period 1.1.2020 until 16.11.2021 due in the year 2021 (fiscal year 2020), are to be submitted by 16.2.2022 ”

According to the legislator, these extensions were deemed necessary “due to the objective difficulties in gathering the supporting documents due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic”, which was also the reason given for the extensions of the deadline in the year 2020 (for declarations concerning 2019).

In any case, these extensions of the submission deadlines greatly affect and delay the auditing of the declarations. According to the 2020 annual report of the CIDA Committee, which is responsible for verifying the declarations, it was not possible to regularly audit the declarations from the years 2016 to 2020 due to the repeated extensions that had been granted.

These delays, in conjunction with frequent changes in the provisions of the declarations themselves, make auditing the statements particularly difficult and perhaps even ineffective, with all that this implies for the achievement of the objectives of transparency and the fight against corruption.

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 recent years these deadlines have been repeatedly extended by legislation, circumventing the letter and the spirit of law 3213/2003, and creating delays and obstacles in the submission and verification of asset declarations.

Christiana Stilianidou
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