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State Bureau of Investigations – A false start awaits

September 22, 2018

It has been quite some time since the truly glacial progression of the State Bureau of Investigation has earned a mention by the blog.

Its glacial formation is no surprise – for it is political expediency driving its delivery, hence the sporadic and ad hoc updates thus far.

Suffice to say, as long, long predicted, the anti-corruption court, Financial Investigations Department and State Bureau of Investigation will not be fully functioning entities prior to the presidential elections (as intended), nor will any judicial outcomes from their most (potentially) prominent cases be forthcoming prior to the Verkhovna Rada elections in October 2019 – parliamentary immunity must first be bestowed upon the next gaggle of parliamentarians to facilitate behind the curtain deals.

Nevertheless there is a political requirement to have a “functioning” SBI prior to any elections for the sake of perception – even if there is no realistic chance of judicial remedies being delivered prior to elections.

Low expectations regarding time frames now set, it is perhaps worth noting how far the glacier has moved since the above linked entries.

According to recent statements by Director Roman Trub the first criminal proceedings of the SBI will be opened in November – after (some of) his staff is successfully selected.  That anticipated staffing number is approximately 1500, of which 320 have been appointed, 674 are almost at the end of the selection process, and the remainder are far from reaching the finishing line.

Nevertheless November appears to be the date set for the first investigations being opened – and as the SBI is still without premises, an incomplete recruitment by default means fewer people to find office space for when there are no premises to put them in.

As stated by Director Trub, “I understand that not all matters will be dealt with in the near future.  We cannot wait – we will start working with the resources that are available.  Without appropriate premises, operational units and management.”

Well why not?

What could possibly go wrong when the only issues are a lack of appropriate premises for personnel and evidence storage, a lack of operational personnel and management?

Only the most cynical and skeptical would predict a litany of preventable issues occurring by pressing onward regardless.

Only the cynical and skeptical would anticipate evidence chains getting compromised, lost, stolen, destroyed or misfiled.

Only they would foresee defence lawyers and judges not only questioning evidence chain integrity, but also operatives overstepping their remits without management supervision, or indeed operational performance being stifled due to a lack of management and easily accessible management authority level for operational purposes.

There are then matters of institutional “canteen culture” (without a canteen) and esprit de corps to consider among an institutionally homeless SBI.

Therefore, having set low expectations regarding timeliness above, it is perhaps wise to set even lower expectations of the embryonic “achievements” of the SBI when they begin to occur.

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