«The new Prime Minister has a chance to succeed. Yet for this he, first of all, needs to learn how to say 'no' to oligarchs, the most successful of whom has become the President».

The following is the latest news for April 2016.

Here are 9 STEPS TO DEMOLISH CORRUPTION IN UKRAINE we have been working on implementation of to sweep away corruption


On April 14th Volodymyr Groisman became the new Prime Minister of Ukraine. 257 MPs voted in favor of his candidacy, from the following parties and groups: Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Narodnyy Front, Vidrodzhennya and Volya narodu. All of these political forces are strongly influenced by Russian-backed oligarchs. Groisman's heritage will depend on whether he manages to minimize the influence of oligarchs on the management of public enterprises and spending taxpayers' money. It’s symbolic that during the formation of the new government the brawl among oligarchs resulted in failure to appoint the Minister of Health, who oversees purchase of medicines and medical equipment worth billions of hryvnias. The aforementioned ministry still remains headless. Majority of the newly appointed ministers are closely linked to both PM Groisman and the President Petro Poroshenko. This means that President must face a final choice. He could concentrate even more corrupt schemes in the hands of his group. But then the whole Ukrainian society will hold Poroshenko personally accountable for maintaining kleptocracy. In fact, in order to succeed the 38-year old Groisman, who had successfully dealt with his mayoral duties in Vinnytsia from 2006 to 2014, has to overcome dependence on the President, who led Groisman into top tier politics and then became the most successful oligarch in Ukraine himself.


On April 3rd, 2016 President dismissed the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. This decision was preceded by many months of pressure from the Ukrainian civil society, joined by the US government last fall, withering criticism in the media and gathering of signatures for a motion of no confidence in the Parliament by MPs from the Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko and Samopomich. After Shokin's resignation, MPs from the Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc registered a draft law that allows to appoint the Bloc’s leader Yuri Lutsenko, who has no legal education, as a new Prosecutor General. As a Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction I urged MPs to abandon the practice of appointment of «friends of the President» as Prosecutor General and called upon them to support a law, drafted in cooperation with my colleagues, that would authorize an independent commission to select candidates for Prosecutor General in an open competition. On April 19th citizens have held a protest in support of that law in front of Verkhovna Rada, with the participation of veterans of the ongoing War of Independence. Because the law was not put to the vote, the protesters have blocked the premises of one of the Prosecutor General’s Office structural units for a few hours. This GPO's structural unit is currently engaged in investigations of criminal cases against two former deputies of Shokin — Vitaliy Kasko and David Sakvarelidze, both of whom have previously arrested prosecutors close to Shokin on charges of extortion. During the search in the extorters’ offices hundreds of thousands of dollars and diamonds were found, hence the case became known as a «diamond prosecutors’ case».

Like his predecessor — another ally of the President, Vitaly Yarema — Shokin sabotaged the implementation of a law on Reform of the State Prosecutor’s Office, adopted in 2014. Under this law, the number of prosecutors had to be reduced and an open competition had to be announced for all positions. Having manipulated the terms of competitions and selection committees, Poroshenko’s lackeys in the Prosecutor's office have ensured that all 154 heads of local prosecutors offices were selected among the old leaders. In April 2016 the third stage of reform of prosecution, defined by the law, came into effect — the transfer of powers to appoint and dismiss prosecutors from the Prosecutor General to the Council of Prosecutors and the qualification disciplinary commission, elected by the prosecutors themselves. Since purification of the prosecution of corrupt officials was sabotaged, newly elected members of the prosecutorial authorities represent the «old guard», which served kleptocratic needs since Viktor Yanukovych’s time in office and are all interdependent in a million corrupt ways. Therefore, there is no chance that decentralization of prosecution will increase the independence of prosecutors, which is what we had in mind after Euromaidan, when the aforementioned law was drafted. On the contrary, the result will be cementing the old and corrupt system of collective responsibility.

At the meetings of the Samopomich delegation in Washington with representatives of Congress and the US Department of State, I proposed to create joint teams of representatives of the FBI and the newly established Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and to involve US and European judges in work of a special anti-corruption Chamber that shoud be created within the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Only a joint EU, US and Ukrainian justice is capable of stopping high level corruption in Ukraine, which retains control of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office and the courts.


Legislation, put forth by our Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction after Euromaidan, which requires officials to declare all assets and grants transparency of this data for citizens through the Internet came under threat of cancellation by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The CCU received a claim from 48 MPs, who mainly represent the «Opposition bloc». In particular, the claim was signed by such officials from Yanukovych times as Yuriy Boyko, Dobkin brothers, Natalia Korolevska, Tetyana Bakhteyeva, Vadim Novinsky, Oleksandr Vilkul, Yuri Voropayev, Evgen Bakulin. They ask the CCU to declare a number of crucial provisions of the Law «On Prevention of Corruption» regarding the asset declaration and verification system unconstitutional. The risk that the CCU will surrender to their claim is high because one-third of the Constitutional Court are the same people who helped Yanukovych to usurp power.


The Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office signed indictment of alleged pressure of the acting Deputy chairman of «Naftogaz Ukraine» Andrew Pasishnyk on Aivaras Abromavičius during his tenure as a Minister of Economic Development in the previous government. This is the first indictment sent to the court after Euromaidan that involves high level corruption. Meanwhile, detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, who were investigating the aformentioned charges, found no evidence of illegal influence on Abromavičius of the MP from the Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc and the closest ally of President, Igor Kononenko. Abromavičius has accused Kononenko of illegal pressure to preserve corruption in the management of state enterprises on February 3rd, when he resigned over the said pressure.

The Minister of finance Oleksandr Danyluk was involved in the offshore scandal immediately after his appointment to the post in the new government. Reporters found out that he is a CEO of several offshore companies in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands. Ukrainian legislation does not allow holding such positions for public officials, punishes it with administrative responsibility and prevents from holding the public office. PM has Groisman instructed law enforcement agencies to verify the information, however according to Ukrainian legislation such verification should take place automatically for all officials. Therefore, the information on the offshore schemes of Oleksandr Danyluk, who before his Cabinet appointment was a Deputy Head of Presidential Administration could have been purposely concealed. Just like the information on the offshore company of Poroshenko, that was exposed in Panama Papers, was not included in the asset declaration of the Head of State.

Cases of Euromaidan, top-corruption and support of the Russian aggression still get no traction. As of now, no high-ranking official, involved in 107 cases in the registry «In the name of Ukraine», the investigation of which is carried under oversight of our parliamentary committee, has been held responsible.

On April 20th the top officials of the National Bank, Financial monitoring and the Deposit Guarantee Fund during the joint hearing of the Parliamentary Committees on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction and on Financial policy and banking complained that the Prosecutor General's Office is completely sabotaging their appeals on suspicious transactions in the financial markets and the machinations of bank owners, linked to the withdrawal of funds. Our committee has promised to begin monitoring such investigations.


The Constitutional Court opened another case on the Law «On Government Cleansing» (lustration) following a complaint filed by the Supreme Court. The basis for a submission was the case of a lustrated chief of tax authorities of Crimea, who remained in office for a year after the annexation of the peninsula by Russia. Two previous submissions of the Supreme Court and that of the MPs of the «Opposition Bloc» (former allies of Yanukovuch) were combined into one case, which the Constitutional Court, in violation of the law and regulations, has been considering for more than a year. During the last session of the Constitutional Court in the case of the Law «On Government Cleansing» 6 out of 16 judges refused to recuse despite the conflict of interest, which constitutes a direct violation of the Law «On Prevention of Corruption». The Civic Lustration Committee filed a request to the law enforcement, demanding to bring to justice the Constitutional Court judges who violate the law.

For the entire period of lustration since October 2014 the State lustration register compiled 926 officials. These are persons who were dismissed under the Law. However this registry does not include officials who resigned out of their own free will yet remain subject to the lustration prohibitions. Such people are listed in Public Register of persons subject to lustration that today contains 2631 persons whom the law forbids to return to public service and administration for the next 10 years. Among them are the odious Yanukovych era officials, including 21 current MPs such as: Yuriy Boyko, Oleksandr Vilkul, Serhiy Kivalov, Mikhail Dobkin, Serhiy Lyovochkin, Nestor Shufrych, Natalia Korolevska, Victor Baloga. While the law «On Government Cleansing» is in effect, they cannot return to senior government positions.

High Council of Justice in almost a year adopted decisions on just 25 cases for the dismissal of judges who endorsed illegal rulings against Euromaidan activists. In late April, 21 of them challenged this decision in court, and 11 have already received a favorable ruling.

Activists from Odessa went on mass protests following the appointment of Mykola Stoyanov as the head of prosecutor’s office of Odessa region in violation of the law «On Government Cleansing» (lustration). After the Ministry of Justice officially confirmed that Stoyanov falls under lustration prohibition he was dismissed under public pressure. Stoyanov was appointed instead of David Sakvarelidze, who was dismissed the day Parliament voted for Shokin's dismissal. Sakvarelidze is a member of Mikheil Saakashvili’s team, and after the appointment of the latter as a Governor of Odessa region, Sakvarelidze combined his duties as both the Deputy Prosecutor General and head of prosecutor’s office of Odessa region. Sakvarelidze, along with Vitaliy Kasko has initiated the infamous «diamond prosecutors’ case». Now he’s the one being questioned by the prosecutors himself.




Copyright © 2016 Iegor Soboliev, All rights reserved.
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