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New Scenarios of Undermining NABU Initiated by Lutsenko

On December 11 on the national TV program, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko announced that following MPs Herasymov and Burbak, his wife Iryna Lutsenko, MP and Representative of President in the Verkhovna Rada, also has intention to introduce a draft law “to resolve contradictions” in the NABU activities.

The Prosecutor General has been speaking in public about these “contradictions” since the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) had disrupted the NABU’s undercover operation in the State Migration Service.

The “contradictions” can be summarized as follows:

“NABU agents became agents illegally, they must be legitimated”. Apparently, the article of the law stipulating the competitive selection of the NABU staff is to be amended. Following statements by the Prosecutor General, in no way evidence-supported, play in hands of the lawyers of corruption crime suspects and allow questioning evidence of their clients’ guilt.

Legislative change of the article of law aims to legitimate groundless statement by the Prosecutor General on the NABU agents being outlawed. It is symbolical that Lutsenko’s wife was the one to come to his rescue.

“Agents use contraband devices for wire-tapping, and the auditors should inspect that” – the Prosecutor General says, whose own subordinate Sus installed a DVR in his office to covertly record all his visitors.

There are three directions “to improve” the Law on NABU (or any other): changes to the procurement procedure of the NABU; direct prohibition to independently procure special devices of covert surveillance; or empowering the auditors to assess lawfulness of investigation actions in uncompleted cases. The last change has already been offered by Herasymov-Burbak draft law No.7362; its adoption would be extremely advantageous before selection of auditors. To assess covert actions the auditor needs access to the state secret provided by the SBU only. The SBU will never grant such access to a foreign citizen (recall the special check issue of Bohdan Vytvitskyi, that competed for the post of NABU director). If the amendments are adopted, neither the Rada, nor the President would be obliged to nominate for auditors the recommended international experts – they would choose between the SBU-approved candidates.

“The NABU is illegally tapping phones” – is a classic ground for bumping off by any country’s secret service. The Prosecutor General says there is permission to wiretap a dozen of subscribers, but NABU wiretaps a hundred. Lutsenko’s calculations are simple: he counts both incoming and outgoing calls! Certainly, the prosecution cannot anticipate a number of such calls, but Lutsenko for sure can regard this as the law violation on behalf of NABU! Unsurprisingly, the wiretapping is being used against the NABU right now as it destroys the evidence in cases of illegal amber mining and similar.

“The NABU agents should submit e-declarations” – says the Prosecutor General and announces his intention to oblige all NABU agents to submit e-declarations while not a single SBU officer, including even their top officials, submitted their declarations to the National Agency for Corruption Prevention, and the assets data of the numerous military prosecutors were hidden from the Registry after the submissions. Should we also remind about the NACP “affection” towards NABU?..

In addition to this the risk of adoption of “anti-Sytnyk” draft law No. 7362 authored by Herasymov and Burbak is still very real. After the loud scandal, the law draft was not withdrawn, it is still being considered by the Parliament; it was recommended by the Rada’s Committee on the Rules of Procedure “to be adopted in the first reading and as a whole”, it can be included into the last plenary week agenda and adopted before the year’s end.

This scenario seems to be quite realistic as Poroshenko and his allies promised to abstain from prompt adoption of “anti-Sytnyk” draft law only.

Right after the law draft disappeared from the Rada’s agenda, Artur Herasymov, Head of the Poroshenko’s Block, said he would not give up “parliamentary” (rather “political”) control over NABU and he offers to keep discussing his “creation”.

The heads of “Narodnyi Front” and “Bloc Petra Poroshenka” factions proposed to enable the President and the Rada to dismiss NABU director not over the independent audit result, but over an administrative corruption charges or via vote of no confidence.

The political elites are also considering the possibility to dismiss NABU director over the independent audit. They have even discharged the Head of the Rada’s Anticorruption Committee who prevented election of the Parliament’s auditor convenient for “Narodnyi Front” and “Poroshenko’s Block”.

Just having got rid of Soboliev, Savchuk, First Deputy Head of the Committee, MP of Narodnyi Front, put on the agenda the extraordinary meeting dated Tuesday, December 19, 2:10 pm. It is clear that the only purport of the additional meeting is to obtain the Committee decision naming the NABU auditor candidate – to be voted for on the same day by the Rada, prior to MPs leaving on vacations. Then the President appoints the auditor according to his quota and the commission of three will be formed before the year’s end.

The draft law No. 7362 also touches on the NABU audit. Suggested changes extend the list of issues that can fall under the audit of NABU, in particular, the inspection of lawfulness of NABU investigation actions, pre-trial investigation, observance of rights and freedoms, i.e. the auditors are provided with functions of a prosecutor or a judge.

These law amendments can emerge in any draft law by Prosecutor’s wife or whoever else – the author is of no consequence. What is actually important is that the frightened political elites did not abandon the idea of full mopping up of fighters against corruption – within the government, within the true opposition to the government, and within the active civil society. And we should jointly pull our efforts to successfully resist all these attacks.