The Cabinet of Ministers Started Interviews with Candidates for NABU Auditors

On Wednesday, May 17 special commission within the Cabinet of Ministers started interviews with candidates for NABU external auditor.

The interviews are closed from public and were announced a day after they actually began. Foreign candidates were informed by the Cabinet of Ministers less than a day in advance of the interviews.  

Cabinet was supposed to interview 16 candidates, including those nominated by the Reanimation Package of Reforms and AntAC, specifically:

  • Carlos Castresana, spanish prosecutor and former head of Commission on Impunity in Guatemala
  • Giovanni Kessler, italian prosecutor and current director of EU Anti-fraud agency (OLAF)
  • Martha Boersch, american prosecutor, who has prosecuted  in the United States former Prime Minister of Ukraine Mr. Pavlo Lazarenko for money laundering and corruption.

Another strong candidate considered by the Cabinet of Ministers is Robert Storch, current deputy Inspector General of the US Ministry of Justice. Mr. Storch has years of experience in auditing FBI and investigating FBI agents.

Mr. Storch already was considered by the parliament, who has to nominate another one NABU auditor. While Mr. Storch was anonymously preselected by the Rada anti-corruption committee back in December 2016 as a result of public competition, parliament shamelessly in violation of the rules of the procedure failed to vote for him. Now the anti-corruption committee is conducting a new public competition for the candidate for NABU auditor, however, on Wednesday May 17 the committee didn’t have quorum to decide on the issue.  

More information is available in our publication in Ukrainian.

Reminder: the law of Ukraine on NABU prescribes conduction of annual external audit for NABU. The audit has to be conducted by 3 auditors - one appointed by Verkhovna Rada, one by President, one by Cabinet of Ministers. The law sets up requirements for NABU auditor, namely they should “have significant experience in pretrial investigation agencies, prosecution, courts abroad or in international organizations, possess proper knowledge and skills for conducting of such an audit and have excellent professional reputation”. The negative conclusion of the audit is a legal ground for a dismissal of  NABU director. It is expected that the audit will be conducted by August 2017.


Success Story: Draft law #6220 Undermining  National Anti-corruption Bureau is Postponed

On Tuesday, May 16 AntAC jointly with Automaidan conducted a direct street action in front of the parliament calling MPs not to vote for draft law #6220

On May 17 parliament committee on law-enforcement decided to postpone consideration of the detrimental draft law #6220 until a special working group revises it. This decision has been supported by all members of the committee, that attended the meeting.

Head of the Committee A. Kozhemiakin emphasized that the draft law #6220 cannot be offered for the parliamentary agenda before the committee adopts its decision on the bill.

Joint synergetic pressure from international community and civil society helped to block the attempt of parliament to undermine NABU’s investigative powers.

Reminder: draft law #6220 provides, that any criminal investigation must be closed if an investigation of the same facts and/or/or events (circumstances)  has already been opened and then closed by any law-enforcement body. Should the draft law be adopted, any politically dependent law-enforcement body may open and then close case against any NABU suspect in order to give the suspect strong grounds to demand termination of NABU investigation against him  


Head of the National Anti-corruption Prevention Commission Nataliya Korchak Failed to Feclare a Car

Latest journalistic investigation proved that Mrs. Korchak possesses a car that she failed to declare in her electronic asset declaration. 

Nominal owner of the car is Korchak’s mother in law, who, however, does not even have a driver’s licence. Korchak confirmed she is regularly using the car. This type of false statements in e-declaration could be qualified as a criminal offence.

Nataliya Korchak is heading the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, which  is responsible for managing the register of e-declarations of public officials and for their verification.However, since beginning of November 2016, when the first wave of e-declarations has been submitted, NAPC managed to verify zero declarations. The Agency reports that it has opened a full verification procedure on approхimatelly 100 declarations,  but there are still noresults of these verifications.

Considering constant failures of current management of NAPC, the Cabinet of Ministers have submitted back in April 2017 a draft law №6335 that allows for dismissal of current leadership of the agency and appointment of the new head through open competition. However, faction of Poroshenko’s block did not support putting this draft law into the agenda of the parliament.

Qualification Commission of Judges Pre-Approves Notorious Judges for the new Supreme Court
High Qualification Commission of Judges continues interviews with candidates to the Supreme Court judges. On May 17 and on May 19 the Commission hold interview with acting Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine  Yaroslav Romaniuk.

Panel of the High Commission allowed Mr. Romaniuk to go to the next stage of the competition for the new Supreme Court judges disregarding negative opinion of the Public Integrity Council.

Romaniuk is known for actively voicing public support to  the so-called “dictatorship laws” of January 2014. These laws  were adopted by the parliament controlled by the Party of Regions to waive support to at the time president Victor Yanukovych in the midst of the Euromaidan protest against him.

According to information from the Public Integrity Council, Romaniuk also participated in adoption of court decision that was later repealed  by the ECHR as violating the right for fair trial. However, panel of the commission accepted Romaniuk’s explanations that his decision violating the European Convention of human rights was a simple mistake.

Final decision on candidates recommended for appointment as the Supreme Court judges will be taken by the Commission at any moment after May 26. Personalized results of respective voting of the Commission will not be public.

Activists and experts demand the Commission to publish individual results of voting for the candidates who received negative opinions from the Public Integrity Council.

Reminder: Panels of the Commission have conducted interviews with  ⅔ of the candidates to the Supreme Court judges and so far have neglected 80% of negative opinions of the Public Integrity Council.
Who is the largest “granteater” in Ukraine?

Lyubov Akulenko and Svitlana Maystruk in their Article are Examining who is the Largest “Granteater” in Ukraine

Since 2016 until May 2017 there were registered 327 projects of international technical assistance in Ukraine with a total budget of 3.6 bln USD.  This amount doesn’t include loans. While in mainstream Ukrainian media it is communicated that NGOs are the  largest beneficiaries of direct international technical assistance in Ukraine, the  reality is different. The top recipient of foreign aid is the state. The state sector recieves projects totalling to 3.1 bln USD out of 3.6 bln USD registered , which is 87% of the entire pool of foreign technical assistance funds. NGOs will receive about 214 mln USD (6%), business - 156 mln USD (4%), citizens - 121 mln USD (3%).  

The technical assistance project are supporting expert and analytical capacity of the state, strengthening  state agencies institutionally. For example, a lot of funds goes on the support of the so called “offices of reforms”, which exist within many Ministries and allow to pay professionals for helping to implement reforms. It is usually very  helpful as the state itself pays super low salaries for public officials. 
A lot of projects are also tailored to support new anti-corruption agencies

More in Ukrainian:

What to read:
Will Ukraine Ever Change?

By Tim Judah, NYbooks
Something Is Very Wrong in KyivUkraine Brags about Reforms and Harasses Activists

By Josh Cohen, Atlantic Council