To Fight or Not to Fight Corruption – New Anti-Corruption Organism of Ukraine (Part II/II)

In my previous post, I started an overview of Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities by outlining competences of the three most important of them in terms of potential input. In this post, I continue and conclude the description of Ukrainian anti-corruption organism.  

An authority, which is still to be established in 2016 under the Law adopted in November 2015, is the National Agency on Detection, Investigation and Management of Assets Obtained from Corruption and Other Crimes (the Agency). Apparently, it will detect, investigate and manage the assets obtained from corruption offences and will interact with foreign stakeholders to accomplish the above. The Agency will also maintain Unified State register of assets arrested within criminal investigation.  

Another anti-corruption body to be created is the State Investigation Bureau (SIB). The signing of the long-awaited law providing for the establishment of SIB took place during Ukrainian President’s first press conference in 2016. SIB is expected to launch until 1 March 2016 and it will deal with crimes committed by top-level government officials, judges, employees of law enforcement agencies, NABU and SAPO.

National Anti-Corruption Policy Council (NACPC) is as an advisory body to the President of Ukraine established in 2014. NACPC advices the President on the issues of corruption prevention and fighting and assists in implementation of recommendations of international organizations (such as GRECO and OECP) in this area.

Possibly the oldest anti-corruption body of Ukraine is the Committee on Prevention and Fighting Corruption (the Committee) of Ukrainian Parliament. It performs anti-corruption expertise of draft laws and legal regulation of activity of all anti-corruption authorities of Ukraine. Committee’s website provides information on bills under consideration; plans and reports of the Committee; as well as legislative news in the anti-corruption sphere.

State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (SFMS) is as a central governmental body responsible for financial monitoring and implementation of state policy in the area of prevention and fighting money laundering and financing terrorism. About 100 countries worldwide have similar authorities that are known as “Financial Intelligence Units”. Please refer to the SFMS’s website for more details on its objectives and activities.  

In addition to the abovementioned authorities, investigation of corruption offences is among the competences of State Security Service of Ukraine and newly established National Police of Ukraine.

And the last, but obviously not the least, institution I want to outline in my review is Business Ombudsman Council (BOC), established in 2014 by Ukrainian government in cooperation with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine (ACC), European Business Association (EBA), Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (UCC), and other non-governmental organizations. Although, BOC is not attributed to anti-corruption authorities of Ukraine directly, I believe that it may have a significant impact on prevention of corruption.  According to its foundation documents, BOC mainly deals with the investigation of alleged acts of violation of legitimate interests of businesses inclusive of corruption ones. BOC’s website and Facebook page provide for a number of reports and success stories of helping Ukrainian businesses. In my opinion, Business Ombudsman might become a good intermediary between business and anti-corruption authorities in their common efforts on preventing and fighting corruption in Ukraine in the future. It is notable that in the end of January 2016 BOC signed a Memorandum on cooperation and information exchange with NABU outlining the areas and principles of cooperation between two institutions.

I hope everyone would share my view that Ukraine did a tremendous job to adopt legislative framework for securing the launch of anti-bribery bodies, some of them are rapidly growing their muscles. Let us hope that 2016 will be a year of fruitful activity of the young anti-corruption organism of Ukraine. At the same time, Ukrainian business and society must not be outside observers and should proactively and consistently monitor activity of the anti-corruption authorities to ensure that the muscles are used for the good of society.

We hope to share with you particular cases, enforcement practices and achievements of Ukrainian anti-corruption organism very soon. So, stay tuned and be compliant!