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Five months of 2017: the results of the fight against undue influence and bribe-givers – NASHI GROSHI

The number of officials who were sentenced for imprisonment under articles 369 and 369-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine has increased in 2017.

These articles outline the proposals, promises and instances where unlawful benefit is granted to the official, as well as undue influence.      

For the first five months of current year, 113 persons were sentenced under Art. 369 and 369-2. This is 81 sentences or 3.5 times more than for the same period in the previous year (32 persons were sentenced during that time). In 2017, the regions where courts have made the most convictions under art. 369 and 369-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine have changed. Last year it was Donetsk region (5 convictions) while for the first five months of current year the Kharkiv region has become the “leader” with 13 convictions.

In 2016 Zaporizhya, Kharkiv, Khmenytskyi, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsia, Ternopil and Odessa regions were right after Donetsk and had 2-3 convictions each. In 2017 Luhansk, Poltava, Lviv and Volyn regions with between 6-11 convictions each are right after Kharkiv.      

For both periods, courts have not made any convictions under art. 369 and 369-2 in Kyiv, Zhytomyr and Kherson regions.

The total amount of given or received bribes proven by the courts was of 704,8 thousand UAH for the five months of previous year. The average illegal benefit level for this period was 22 thousand UAH. The total amount of bribes this year is 3,53 million UAH and average level of illegal benefit has increased by 9 thousand UAH and is now at 31 thousand UAH.

In the first five months of the current year, courts have sentenced seven individuals to imprisonment. These individuals were trying to solve their “issues” by giving bribes to officials. These sentences have not yet come into effect.

Only two officials were sentenced in this period:

  • The first Deputy Head of Kosiv State Administration of the Ivano-Frankivsk region Mykhailo Pavliuk was sentenced to 2,2 years of imprisonment. He received 28 thousand UAH from Head of PE “Yavir” as a bribe for assistance in getting contracts for road repairs.
  • The Chief Specialist of the Social Affairs Division of the Department of Social Protection of the Population, Family and Youth of Nemyriv regional state administration of the Vinnytsya region Tetiana Bezruchenko was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for having receiving a 2 thousand UAH bribe for influencing members of the commission in order to allocate social benefit for mother of three and more children.

Only one person was imprisoned for the same period in 2016 (for 6 years of imprisonment with forfeiture of all property and having the bar removed) by the decision of the first instance court. It was the judge of Derazhnyansk district court of Khmelnytskyi region Oleg Dvorkin who received 11 thousand USD as a bribe to judges who were presiding over the case of Dvorkin’s close associate and relative (drug-related crime). The bribe was given so as to ensure the imposition of punishment without imprisonment, but this decision was cancelled by the Vinnytsia Court of Appeal and handed back to first court.

Fines

Fine were the most common punishment in 2017, as well as in 2016. 92 persons were fined this year (81% of all sentences under mentioned articles for 5 months), 82 sentences have taken effect. The former Deputy Head of the Dnipro Regional State Administration Oleksandr Stepanskyi was fined for helping to ensure that 16 land parcels passed to the director of the farm enterprise “Tetiana i K”. He received a 300 thousand UAH bribe.

Apart from that, the courts fined the prosecutor of the Kharkiv Prosecutor’s Office Serhiy Harkavets, who had asked for 150 thousand UAH as a bribe from the Director of PE “Metalist” in exchange for influence on supervisory authorities. They were investigating an accident which had involved the foreman of the company and the bribe was given in an attempt to prevent obstacles to the work of PE “Metalist” during the investigation.      

The head of the village of Prominsk in the Lutsk region Sehiy Felchuk was also fined for accepting 85 thousand as a bribe for influencing members of the village council and the State registrar to transfer two land parcels (0,12 hectars each) into private ownership

Courts fined 17 persons in the first five months of 2016. This is 53% of all sentences for the period under the aforementioned articles, and this is 28% less than this year. All sentences were brought into effect, including the sentence handed down to the Head of the Division of Revenues and Fees of Individuals under the State Financial Inspection in Vyzhytsk district (Chernivtsi region) Oleksiy Trufyn. In 2015, he had proposed to an entrepreneur to solve an issue of administrative responsibility and income tax payment avoidance for 2 thousand UAH.     

Comparing to the previous year, the percentage of officials in category B and individuals who were sentenced has increased (by 6% and 11% respectively).

Punishment under Art. 369 and 369-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine from January to February 2016 and 2017:

Bribes_NG_2017

Different punishment types

The percentage of persons who were giving bribes or were trying to influence the decision-making process in other ways and who were released from punishment (with probational sentences) in 2017 was less than in 2016. Six people were sentenced in the first five months of current year, mainly private individuals. And five people last year, mainly low-level officials.

Four people were acquitted under Art. 369 and 369-2 in the first five months of 2017, and two people in 2016. These are private individuals for the most part.

Who is punished

No officials in Category A (highly sensitive positions) were sentenced under Art. 369 and 369-2 in the first five months of 2016 and 2017. There were 19 convicted officials in Category B (sensitive positions) in 2017 (mainly representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the National Police) and only three in 2016. The percentage of this category officials amounted to 17% out of all sentences, 8% higher than previous year.

In particular, last year courts issued a fine to the Deputy Head of Investigation Department of Terebovlya District Division of Department under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (in the Ternopil region) Pavlo Yalynskyi of 25.5 thousand UAH. In 2015, he received a bribe to influence the investigator of the Terebovlya Investigation Department who should have adopted a decision to close criminal proceedings into abuse of office by officials of the Registration Service of Terebovlya District Administration of Justice.

This year courts fined the Head of Yamnytsia village in Tysmennytsia district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region Mykola Zelinskyi and the specialist in land management on Yamnytsia local council Roman Bybyk for 25 thousand UAH. They wanted to receive 200 thousand USD in illegal benefit for assisting in getting 2 hectares of land near the “Mykacheve-Lviv” motor road but were detained after receiving first part of the bribe (3 thousand USD).      

Решта засуджених – це службовці середньої та дрібної ланки (категорія С), а також приватні особи.

The head of the Division of Taxes and Charges of Individuals of the Novoukrainsk Regional Tax Inspection of the Main Department under the State Fiscal Service (in the Kirovograd region) Svitlana Hrinchenko was fined five thousand UAH. She promised to influence her boss in order to reduce the amount of taxes and fines from 7 million to 20 thousand UAH. The chief of staff of  the Ovidiopol Regional District Administration in the Odessa region and the Acting First Deputy Head of the Ovidiopol Regional District Administration Mykola Rudyk was fined 25.5 thousand UAH. He received 5 thousand USD (130 thousand UAH) as a bribe to influence the Head of Urban Planning and Architecture Division of the Ovidiopol regional state administration. The latter should have quickened the issuing of documents for the land (2 hectares) for the building of refrigeration warehouses for fruit and vegetable products storage.

Sentences came into effect for the first three officials, but not for Rudyk.

Bribe sizes

43% of received or given bribes for undue influence in 2017 are sums ranging from 1-10 thousand UAH; for the same period of 2016 this indicator was less – 26%.

In the first five months of previous year sums ranging from 10-100 thousand UAH, estimated 44% of the total. This year, 37% of sentences had the same sums.  

In 2017, the share of the total taken by bribes of small quantities (less than 1 thousand UAH) was 12%, versus 22% in 2016. Sums ranging from 100-300 thousand UAH were almost 8% in each period.

For the first five months of 2016 and 2017 no officials who were accused of receiving a sum more than 300 thousand UAH were sentenced. At the same time, according to his sentence dated 16 January 2017 entrepreneur Oleksandr Fomin, who was trying to give a 20 thousand UAH bribe (526 thousand UAH) to a Security Service employee in exchange for influence on the decision to return illegally manufactured tobacco products seized by law enforcers in the port of Odessa, which were not for sale in Ukraine.

By Viktor Volokita for Nashigroshi.org blog., first publisged on 26 June 2017