US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch wrote an article for Novoye Vremya advocating the creation of an Anti-Corruption Court and the reformation of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP).
“Four years after Maidan, the question is haunting: isn’t the urge to bring Ukraine into the future fading? Political attacks on the NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine) and SAP (Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine) hinder their ability to take down corruption schemes in the government sector. Like the Ukrainian people, we are still deeply concerned by the fact that, while the NABU and SAP have sent more than 100 serious corruption cases to the courts, not one significant ruling on them has been made. The corrupt judges will procrastinate the administration of justice. And that’s why it’s so important to create an Anti-Corruption Court. Furthermore, the regulations adopted last year for declaring the assets of civil servants were turned against the activists themselves, who are fighting corruption on the highest levels. Those who are fighting corruption are heroes, but the adherents of the old Ukraine have gone to war with them,” Yovanovitch commented.
“For Ukraine to succeed, her leaders must reaffirm their commitment to eradicating corruption. This means: creating an Anti-Corruption Court with the highest standards of integrity on the basis of the opinions of the Venice Commission; providing the NABU and SAP with the instruments and the independence necessary to carry out their tasks; reformation of the NACP, so that it realizes its mandate to prevent corruption, and does not put pressure on anti-corruption reformers,” she added.
On December 23, President Petro Poroshenko put forward a bill in the Verkhovna Rada to create an Anti-Corruption Court. A number of public organizations, including the Reanimation Package of Reform, the Center to Oppose Corruption and Transparency International criticized the document’s regulations, saying that the bill does not comply with the conclusions of the Venice Commission, and should thus be retracted.
At the end of November, following the arrest of an undercover NABU agent accused of taking bribes, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (GPU) released a video with the personal details of the bureau’s agents. In particular, “agent Katerina” was declassified, whose efforts were responsible for bringing Borislav Rosenblat to justice. The GPU claimed that there is an illegal secret department in the bureau, and began to question NABU agents.
After a bill was registered in the Verkhovna Rada which would give MPs the right to fire the bureau’s director without audit, the NABU said that a plan was being implemented to destroy the bureau. Later the bill disappeared from the agenda.
On November 14, Anna Solomatina, former director of the department of financial control and lifestyle monitoring of the NACP, said that the head of the NACP and her colleagues had falsified the results of the complete e-declaration audits. According to her, the agency is now completely under the control of the Presidential Administration.