Governmental Support is Vital to Fight Corruption

.

The public property damage in corruption cases that have been investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) only amount to UAH 83 billion (around $3.7 billion), says Artem Sytnyk, the director of the NABU. He also spoke to Jerry Cameron about the origins of corruption, its size and the challenges the NAPU is facing in fighting it.

Ukraine has introduced some measures to fight corruption but it is still an important issue which very often scares foreign investors off. Why has the country had such historical problems with corruption?

The background of corruption is the same in any country in the world — when a public servant uses his power and influence for his own benefit. Why is corruption so extensive in Ukraine? Partially, it is because of its post-soviet establishment, which still has a big stake in Ukrainian policy, and partially it is because of the oligarchic model of economy. But this is not news. In my opinion, the key reason is a complex of impunity.

For the 25 years of its independence, Ukraine hasn’t had and successful examples of a highly ranked official being punished  for corruption. However, what international investors should also know about Ukraine is that after the Revolution of Dignity a new generation of politicians and civil activists have emerged who regard corruption as one of Ukraine’s biggest challenges. Due to their efforts, and supported by the international community, the country managed to establish two independent bodies to fight top-corruption, in 2015  — the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ Office.

How big do you estimate the size of corruption and the black market in Ukraine to be? In which areas/sectors is it most prevalent?

Our investigations show that state-owned enterprises are the main sources of corruption. They work as a hub through which the money is taken out of the state budget and then used for various purposes: political corruption, corrupting judges and prosecutors and all the rest.

As for the size, public property damage, in cases investigated by the NABU, only amounts to UAH 83 billion (around $3.7 billion). Those are just crimes that are subject to the NABU (not all corruption offences are subject to the Bureau). Most of them have been under investigation since November 2015. In the majority of top corruption cases, the investigations, which started before, are still being investigated by the General Prosecutor’s office.

Artem Sytnyk (courtesy of NABU)

Where do you see the greatest challenges when it comes to fighting corruption?

The greatest challenge is the lack of a political desire in our elite to change the rules of the game. We’ve been asking the Parliament, for more than a year, to provide us with autonomous wire-tapping. It’s the same with the creation of anti-corruption courts.

Our cases are stuck in unreformed courts — we passed over 50 cases to the courts, but in current situation a trial would take many months or even years to begin. That is why we are advocating for the creation of independent anti-corruption courts, which would specialise in cases investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ Office. So far we don’t feel this initiative is supported by the governing coalition in parliament.

On your website you talk about eradication and prevention. How do you want to achieve that goal?

We are creating precedents. In investigating top corruption cases, we are breaking the impunity of government officials. That is why ‘eradicate’ goes first. The more corrupt officials we arrest, the more convictions they receive, and the better the prevention we provide. An inevitable punishment is the best vaccination against corruption.

Which countries is Ukraine looking at to reference for good practice?

Of course, the experiences of our colleagues from Romania, Poland and Latvia are very helpful. However, when we set standards for fighting corruption, we do not set standards for a particular country, we set standards that have already been approved by the international community — the International Convention on Combating Bribery, United National Convention Against Corruption, Transparency International practices and others.

In a best case scenario, when and how do you see the first results of your current actions and is it possible to eradicate corruption in Ukraine?

I have not heard of even one country in the world where they could declare that they have has completely eradicated corruption. This is a permanent process. Our results in Ukraine will depend not only on NABU actions (and we’ll do our best, of course) but also on the political appetite of the elite and their ability to provide the necessary legislative amendments, which includes the creation of the anti-corruption court, and providing NABU with autonomous wire-tapping etc.

I would say that 2017 will be crucial. Either MPs support us and we make a surge in fighting corruption, or this process will be protracted for years to come. I’m not sure that the window of opportunity for our country will be kept open for such a long time.

RELATED ARTICLES

Europe’s Breadbasket Offers Opportunities for Investment and Diversification

Anti-corruption Efforts Are the Starting Point for Further Reforms

Steps to Stability Marred by a Failure to Attract FDI

Finalising the DCFTA is Expected to Bring Multiple Benefits to Ukraine

Lviv Is the Pearl and the Soul of Ukraine

SMEs Should Play an Important Role in the Economy and Export Development

The Human Factor is Boosting Ukraine’s Promising IT Export Sector

European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine

The Stalled Conflict in Ukraine Will be Formalised

The Ukrainian Banking Sector Looks Set to Regenerate New Growth

Danish companies Support and Assist Ukraine’s Economic Transition

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen during a meeting in Kiev Ukraine

‘Viking’ is Yet Another Way to Annoy Ukraine

Leszek Balcerowicz: Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

Ukraine Is Offering Europe Unique Combat and Technological Experience

A Very Good Prospect for Future Biogas Development

The Political Economy of Independent Ukraine: Late Starts, False Starts, and Last Chance?

Ukraine Continues to Make Waves as an IT Outsourcing Destination

Between the East and West, Geographically and Politically

Changes Are Needed in Ukraine’s Economy and Business to Catch up with CEE Growth

The Innovation District IT Park Will Help Lviv Become CEE’s IT Hub

IT park lviv ukraine

FocusEconomics: Predicting an Increase for the Ukrainian Economy

Ukraine Is Energy Independent in Some Sectors and Awaiting Change in Others

Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

Energy Tariff Reform in Ukraine: Estimated Effects and Policy Options

The Dilemmas of Ukraine’s Economic Policy

Ukrainian Venture Investment Market Is Immature and Needs Growth

Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?

Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

Ukraine’s Reputation for Cheap Labour May Not Ring True in the Long-term

Office Space Remains Available in Kyiv

History as Destiny? Institutional Erosion in Ukraine and Poland

See the New Ukraine and Benefit From the Best by Partnering or Investing in IT

Engineer proceeding to data recovery from computer

Ukrainian Start-up Projects Recognised in the International Market but Still More Investors Needed

Startup Diversity Teamwork Brainstorming Meeting Concept

Naftogaz: A Good Start Has Slowed But Optimism Remains High

Closeup of pressure meter on natural gas pipeline with people on the background

Ukraine’s Government Declares Ambitious Privatisation Targets

The Eurovision Song Contest Is a Perfect Showcase for Ukraine’s Talent and Warmth

Western Ukraine Could Be an Entry Point into the Country

Ukraine’s Gas Industry Risks Stagnation Without Investment

Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Wheat ukraine agriculture ebrd

Denmark in Ukraine: Fostering a Better Business Climate for Both Sides

Longstanding Early Investors Say Ukraine Offers Foreign Manufacturers Great Prospects

ukraine manufacturing

Past Troubles Belie the Opportunities for Investment

Sirin Software — A Ukrainian Firm Conquering Global Markets

Protecting Intellectual Property to Encourage Business Confidence

Ukraine and Canada: A History of Settlement and a Future for Investment

Ukraine’s Economy in 2017 — When Dreams of Growth Meet Geopolitical Reality

Kyiv’s Mayor Is Used to Fighting to Attract Attention and Interest

KIEV UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 8 2016: The facade of Kievrada the City Council located in Khreshchatyk Avenue on September 8 in Kiev.

Start Making Connections for the Opportunities Ukraine is Currently Offering

Kharkiv region Ukraine - July 29 2016: Combine harvests wheat on a field in Kharkiv region Ukraine on July 29 2016

Military Operations in Ukraine Have Had Some Surprisingly Positive Side Effects for Modern Businesses

Night city reflection on the river in Donetsk. Ukraine

Maidan Three Years On—What Has Changed for Ukraine?

Poland’s Business Experience Makes it a Good Neighbour to Ukraine

There Is a Move Towards Change in Ukraine

A Roadmap for Reform in Ukraine and a Promise of EU Support

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *