The integrity and work of the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) in Ukraine will be put in jeopardy if the process to appoint an independent auditor is manipulated, according to Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement. It is calling on the government to ensure that only the most qualified, independent candidates are considered for NABU and the process is transparent.
Transparency International and Transparency International Ukraine are also calling for a draft law proposing amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code to be scrapped because the amendments infringe on human rights and are against the principles of the Ukrainian Constitution.
Transparency International is highlighting these actions as they could derail the fight against corruption and let the guilty go unpunished.
“Ukraine needs to have strong leadership in the fight against corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau is considered independent and is making progress. It is pursuing difficult investigations of top officials. This must not be jeopardized. There is a murky process underway to find an independent auditor and this will not help,” said Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine.
NABU is investigating politicians and business leaders who are close to the leaders of the country. The role of the auditor is key to ensuring the integrity of the investigations.
The Anti-Corruption Committee of Parliament recommended Robert P. Storch, the Deputy Inspector General of the US Department of Justice, for the post of independent auditor. But a second candidate, Nigel Brown, an investigator and consultant from the UK, was proposed by the President Poroshenko’s party without consultation.
On the Criminal Procedure Code amendments, Transparency International and Transparency International Ukraine fear that the proposals will deprive Ukrainian citizens of right for defence, will curtail personal liberties, and will return the repressive provisions contained in the Criminal Procedure Code of 1960. A new Code was adopted in 2012 to guarantee these rights. The amendments are ostensibly aimed at bringing former president Victor Yanukovych who fled the country three years ago to trial, but risk damaging civil rights.
“Yanukovych must be prosecuted and tried within the constitutional framework. Re-writing the legislation and introducing loopholes into the system that can be exploited by the corrupt is unacceptable and must be stopped. Citizens need laws that protect them and are not open to abuse,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
Transparency International is calling for action by the international community to pressure the Ukrainian authorities. The International Monetary Fund, European Union and other international partners of Ukraine must not stay silent when they see the Ukrainian authorities manipulate systems to avoid holding the powerful and corrupt to account.
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