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Nasirov (continued) – When theatre goes wrong

March 6, 2017

It has been a few days since the last entry relating to the long overdue arrest of  Roman Nasirov (the currently suspended head of the State Fiscal Service).  There was good reason not to mention the issue further.

As that entry made clear and interesting few days were ahead – “Meanwhile, Mr Nasirov during his arrest displayed the time honored act of suddenly falling ill.  He may be relatively young, but clearly he has learned no new tricks, relying on the usual attempted mockery of the system.”

The purpose of this charade was to run down the NABU clock regarding the legal right to detain Mr Nasirov and feign illness sufficiently well that with an agreeable judge, or as it turned out with the lack of a judge, he wold be able to walk away without any form of restrictions on his liberty.

Now some may question why NABU arrested Mr Nasirov on a Friday, meaning their 72 hours detention clock expired on a Sunday – it may be for operational reasons, or it may be poor planning in retrospect – albeit NABU had every right to expect a judge to be found on a Sunday to either apply remand, bail, house arrest, or no limitation upon Mr Nasirov’s liberty.

(A reader can be sure that judges across Ukraine were being found to authorise detentions for lesser mortals on a Sunday.)

Needless to say certain elements within the judiciary and political class conspired to insure that the NABU detention clock expired on the night of 5th March and that Mr Nasirov could walk free – or at least he could walk free if he would stop feigning illness.  No doubt for the theatre he would have left the court on a stretcher only to have a miraculous recovery after a brief hospital visit.

As is so often the case over the past 3 years, and unfortunately will continue to be the case, it fell to the people of Ukraine, its civil society and its activists to fill the deliberate void created by the judicial-political conspiracy designed to allow Mr Nasirov the opportunity to legally disappear into the night.

As the NABU detention clock ran out, there was no running out of the court for Mr Nasirov.  Crowds had assembled outside to convince Mr Nasirov to remain in the court until Monday when a judge would turn up.  Those crowds remained all night.  Mr Nasirov remained inside the court.  A judge turned up.

All the usual lawyerly tricks, political skulduggery and judicial subjugation there under managed to come to naught due to an increasing irked public rapidly loosing what remains of its little faith in the current national management.

If Mr Nasirov was to be thrown under a bus – which by pure chance (or probably not) saw the IMF reach agreement for the next tranche following Mr Nasirov’s arrest – then it was a bungled job.  If he is to truly face due process, or whether it was simply a con to get the IMF on board and then to let Mr Nasirov off the hook on a legal technicality later, the theatre played out in such a way that neither public nor foreign institutions will have any increased faith in the leadership – indeed (once again) the opposite has happened.

Clearly the Nasirov case will become a significant case – perhaps the corruption case of 2017.  He is the highest ranking official to have been arrested by NABU – and has been privy to many a dodgy deal among the ruling elite over the past 2 years.

Mr Nasirov does not look like the type of man that would “do time” easily, and there must be some concerns in certain circles that he may cut a deal if he isn’t afforded the opportunity to disappear with most of his ill-gotten gains, unless vested interests insure the case successfully sabotaged and thereby (wrongly) closed.

Lest a reader forget, 3 years on from “The Revolution of Dignity”, nobody from the political and institutional elite has gone to jail.  In the absence of a dedicated and independent anti-corruption court (and appeals chamber), perhaps none of them will.

At the time of writing it remains unclear what, if any, restrictions upon Mr Nasirov may yet be applied.  The court remains in session – both within and without the building.

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