Ukrainian authorities must publish anti-corruption case proceedings and stop harassing civil society
Transparency International, the anti-corruption movement, is calling on the Ukrainian parliament to push for the publication of the court process that led to the confiscation of US$1.5 billion in stolen assets in order to ensure it cannot be challenged and the ruling over-turned.
At the same time, Transparency International is concerned that its national chapter in Ukraine is being put under pressure because it is insisting on due process in this case.
The confiscation of US$1.5 billion is an unprecedented outcome for a corruption case in Ukraine. However, there are questions as to the legitimacy of the confiscation process. It could be appealed by those whose assets were seized if due process was not followed and there is a requirement, under Ukrainian law, that the court verdict is published.
In order to ensure that the decision stands, Transparency International Ukraine wrote an open letter to lawmakers on 21 June 2017 asking them to investigate any possible violations on the part of Prosecutor General’s Office while confiscating the US$1.5 billion dollars, the amount that Prosecutor General’s office said had been seized. It is part of the monies siphoned off during the regime of the former president Viktor Yanukovych.
“This is an important case and it must be conducted properly and transparently. We congratulate Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko for confiscating these assets, however, not publishing the court verdict raises serious concerns about professionalism and transparency of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Those who stole the assets must not be able to contest the decision on technical and legal grounds. The authorities need to focus on this and not on trying to damage the reputation of Transparency International Ukraine, which along with other civil society organisations, is trying to help the people of Ukraine get back what is theirs,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
“We want there to be an open and shut case on the issue of the stolen assets and we do not want to face harassment simply for insisting on this,” said Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine.
Civil society is an ally of governments in the fight against corruption. Most of the progress so far achieved by Ukraine on the anti-corruption front was possible thanks to the enormous efforts of civil society. Transparency International chapters adhere to high standards of ethics and rules of conduct. This is true for Transparency International Ukraine which has worked hard, alongside the authorities, to help strengthen anti-corruption initiatives in the country, and will continue to do so.
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