Remember the Anti-Corruption Bureau?

March 25, 2015

The on-going, seemingly glacial effort at a functioning Anti-Corruption Bureau has not been mentioned at the blog since the end of 2014.

Time, perhaps, for an update, although there is sadly little to update as is the case with glacial movement.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau was supposed to be already operating by now.  It’s legislative legitimacy for existence coming into effect in January 2015.  It is an entity that is supposed to employ approximately 700 staff, and yet it is still to fully recruit, or even be given its appointed “head”.  This due to a very long and highly convoluted process that surrounded the selection of the committee in charge of candidate selection, and thereafter (hopefully) thorough checks for nefariousness of the 3 candidates that will ultimately be put before the President to make a final appointment.

Indeed, whilst the President is stating he is not interfering in the process – he is making public statements that he would like the process to be somewhat more timely.

Of the initial 176 candidates that showed some interest, after several rounds of sifting, 4 candidates remain – Yakov Varychev, Mykola Siry, Artem Sytnik and Viktor Chumak.  One more to fall by the wayside prior to the final 3 reaching the President.  However, with 700 staff to employ, it would seem rather erroneous not to employ these 4 heavily vetted candidates somewhere within the hierarchy of the new NACB anyway.

Messrs Varychev and Sytnik are former investigators for the PGO in different  regions of Ukraine, Mr Siry is/was a lawyer for Ms Tymoshenko, and Mr Chumak is an MP within the President’s party.

Whilst it seems very likely that the selection committee – each member selected at extraordinary lengths for their moral and ethical fortitude – has not been “political” in its robustness in candidate selection, verification and investigation, it seems unlikely that there will be no absolute absence of political influence in the President’s decision.

Whilst the President may well be delighted to see all remaining candidates within the hierarchy of the new NACB, (at least one hopes that would be so), it is difficult to see him appointing anybody connected so closely to Ms Tymoshenko to the very top job, unfortunately for Mr Siry.

Perhaps a provincial former PGO investigator would be the most politically neutral decision.

However, only a fool would bet against the appointment of Viktor Chumak from the President’s party – and despite the numerous, labourious, and a-political checks and interviews he will have been through to get thus far, some will still smell nepotism if he is appointed.

Whatever the outcome, as things stand, there remains no fully functioning Anti-Corruption Bureau, nor “Head” thereof – 3 months after it was expected to begin its role.  As the days, weeks and months pass by, the pressure to get a few notable results for any new “Head” before the year end grows – particularly when the President, even if he already knows whom he will appoint from the remaining 4 candidates, will have to be seen to spend the appropriate amount of time “pondering” before making his appointment.

Questions therefore – April, May or June before a “Head” is appointed for the NACB?  2015 or 2016 before it is fully staffed? 2, 3 or 4 NACB successes before the end of 2015?

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