Anti-corruption organizations demand Prosecutor General to replace Sevruk with Kessler

Anti-corruption organizations demand Prosecutor General to replace Sevruk with Kessler.

Transparency International-Ukraine, Anti-corruption Action Centre and Reanimation Reform Package are demanding Prosecutor General to react on valid concerns of civil society regarding independent and unbiased selection process to the anti-corruption prosecution office.

Specifically, we urge Prosecutor General to appoint Giovanni Kessler, a Director of OLAF, instead of odious Yuriy Sevruk, first deputy prosecutor general, to the selection commission, which is selecting anti-corruption prosecutors.

Recently, after two-months delay, President Poroshenko finally informed society and international partners, that following critics from the European Union and Ukrainian civil society, there was changed a composition of selection commission of anti-corruption prosecution office.

However, such a statement is only partially true, as Mr. Kessler is not among newly appointed members of selection commission. While, Mr. Sevruk remains there, disregarding that civil society and international organizations were unsatisfied with his candidacy, as Mr. Sevruk had triggered investigation against another deputy prosecutor general  – David Sakvarelidze – for his attempts to reform prosecution service through open competitive procedures.

Moreover, Ukrainian government is performing various tricks to keep its reputation in the eyes of international partners and to keep Mr. Sevruk in the selection commission. On the last week there was registered a draft parliament decree, in which it is suggested to replace American prosecutor Mary Butler, one of members delegated by parliament to the selection commission, with Giovanni Kessler!

We would like to note, that neither civil society, nor international partners or parliamentarians, expressed any concerns regarding already one-month-long work of members of selection commission delegated by the parliament. There are no objective reasons for such a replacement, therefore this draft decree as well as suggestion of President is nothing more then implementation of backroom agreements, but not valid demands of civil society.

We would like to point attention of the President of Ukraine, that anti-corruption prosecution office should be independent from any political interference, and people, who have high level of trust in society, should select its management within transparent and fair competition.

Attempts to include into the selection commission Mr. Giovanni Kessler or any other highly professional and independent candidate, in a way other then replacement of members delegated by General Prosecutor, are unacceptable and should be treated as interference of government to the work of the selection commission on the eve of interviews with candidates applying for administrative positions at anti-corruption prosecution office.

Anti-corruption prosecution office is a cornerstone for full launch of National Anti-corruption Bureau, which was set up specifically for investigation and prosecution of corruption crimes conducted by senior state officials in Ukraine.

We appeal to the President of Ukraine to stop manipulating with demands of civil society, journalists and parliamentarians, as well as to stop fooling international partners of Ukraine  – and to the contrary, to unblock process of setting up of anti-corruption prosecution by convincing Mr. Shokin to conduct real, but not “cosmetic” replacement of people, whom he delegated to select anti-corruption prosecutors.

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