Takeaways from the Recent Meeting with the Head of Anti-Corruption Bureau or Should We Put Our Trust in the Anti-Corruption Fight

On June 16, Anti-Corruption Working Group of the American Chamber of Commerce had an offsite meeting at NABU’s office with Artem Sytnyk, Head of the Bureau. During the meeting, I presented the results of the Chamber’s Mid-Year Corruption Perception Survey (“Survey”), conducted in April 2016. Apart from the general questions measuring business’s perception of corruption, there was a question in the Survey aimed to assess the level of trust to the Bureau and satisfaction with its performance.

As the results of the Survey show, only one third of respondents believe that NABU performed well during the November 2015 - April 2016 period. The rest, who did not think that the Bureau did a good job fighting corruption, had an option to provide detailed comments and recommendations on how NABU could improve. Unfortunately, among almost 50 respondents, only one provided constructive comment. The rest mostly criticized.

“Frankly speaking, I expected worse results”, Artem told the audience. He then compared Ukraine with Romania, where the anti-corruption authority initially had something above ten percent of the trust from the public. Now, according to Artem, it has more than 60 percent, which is the highest rate among other authorities.

Given the spirit of the conversation that day, I believe that should the Survey being held these days, the results would be better. As media widely reported, NABU has completed its biggest investigation so far involving a member of Ukrainian parliament as a suspect. This is a very promising and long-awaited news, which should definitely reinforce the level of trust in the Bureau.

To go back to the Survey again, I would group the respondents’ comments on NABU’s efficiency into three theses:

  • Absence of any significant results or loud cases; top corruptioneers are not punished yet.

  • There is not enough information about the results of Bureau’s activity.

  • It’s too early to assess Bureau’s efficiency (please note the Survey was held in April).

Indeed, top corruptioneers are not put to jail yet, but it seems we are now closer to that. Of course, there is still a long way to go – from capturing of offenders to the final court verdict. However, it is obvious that this way will not be pleasant beach walk, given the anti-NABU campaign launched by some media. That is why the least business or any ordinary citizen can do now – is to put the trust in the Bureau’s rightful endeavors. There is no doubt they really need this.

And the last. My attention was drawn to one respondent’s comment, where he or she criticized that Bureau is not effective, and that Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has not even been appointed yet. We are talking about an answer from April 2016, while Nazar Kholodnytskyi took an office as an Anti-Corruption Prosecutor several months earlier. This comment suggests that some people tend to criticize and not to bother with getting the real picture. My point here is that criticism is necessary, but it should be constructive and based on the objective information.

As I already mentioned,  there is a long way to go, but joint effort and support of proper initiatives will help us bringing the better future without corruption much sooner.

If you are interested in the detailed results, please follow the link to get the referred presentation.