How Are Anti-Corruption Reforms Proceeding?

October 24, 2022
How are anti-corruption reforms proceeding? UkraineWorld spoke to Tetiana Shevchuk, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Center. Key points – in our brief.

1. On the current state of anti-corruption reforms

  • The essence of anti-corruption reforms lies in the creation of anti-corruption institutions and ensuring their effectiveness. 99% of reforms were carried out in the previous 8 years of activity. Currently, we are looking for loopholes to close which prevent legislation from working effectively and protecting against political encroachments.
  • After the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions have shown their ability to continue working. They have even taken on additional responsibilities. For example, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) are under the purview of Ukraine’s defense and security authorities by law. Accordingly, they have begun working in other defense and security capacities, such as the investigation of war crimes, and confiscation of Russian funds for the benefit of the state.
  • The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has taken up the issue of sanctions against Russian figures. There is enough trust in the Anti-Corruption Court that it has been given additional powers to collect funds from sanctioned persons for the benefit of the state.

2. On the draft law “On NABU”

  • The draft law has been registered, but it has become a political non-story. There was an attempt to intervene in the competition for the selection of the director at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and to make changes in such an accelerated, manual mode to the current law.
  • In response to public backlash, authorities quickly adopted the law of compromise, containing the rule that persons who have been abroad for more than 21 days during the full-scale invasion and whose absence was not related to matters of national security or medical treatment are disqualified from being considered to lead NABU. This requirement is discriminatory.
  • The draft law is problematic for several reasons: the Director of the NABU may be dismissed due to an administrative protocol on a corruption offense, and the head has to know the English language at a B1 level, which is also a discriminatory requirement.
  • Dozens of harmful draft laws are posted on the Rada's website, but there is no procedure for withdrawing them. Therefore, there is simply a political agreement and a majority promise not to let this become a political story.
  • Attempts to control NABU’s top management are not new. Last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the appointment of NABU’s head was illegal. Moreover, the directorship of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has remained vacant for the past two years. There have also been attempts to make unfriendly modifications to the "On NABU" draft law.

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.

Tetiana Shevchuk, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Center