by Olena Shcherban, originally published on UP
On July 17, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi expressed his position regarding the selection of head of the SAPO in his evening speech. The competition that took place should lead to completely logical decision on the appointment of new head. On the same evening, the President suspended the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office Iryna Venediktova.
It is the head of the PGO who appoints the head of the SAPO to the position. So, nowadays Zelenskyi and the Office of the President are responsible for any delays in this process. After all, Oleksiy Symonenko, appointed by the President and controlled by the deputy head of the Office of President Oleg Tatarov, became the new, albeit temporary, head of the PGO.
Thus, two days later, on July 19, another meeting of the Selection Commission regarding the appointment of head of the SAPO took place. The Commission had to take 2 simple steps to finalize the process. Namely:
- to formally approve results of the competition, which ended in December last year;
- to forward the winner’s candidacy for appointment to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Everything is fine with the first point and results of the competition are approved. But there are problems with the second one.
Here is the approved wording: To submit for consideration by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine within three working days after the Commission receives confirmation of compliance with requirements of the Laws of Ukraine “On Purification of Power”, “On Corruption Prevention”, as well as on obtaining access to state secrets in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On State Secret”.
The key problem is in the phrase “within three working days after the Commission receives confirmation from the PGO”, because if the Commission has the deadline, then the Prosecutor General’s Office does not have this deadline. This is not a secret and has been repeatedly discussed at Commission meetings that the Commission and its head Kateryna Koval have all necessary confirmations.
Confirmation of candidates’ compliance with these cited requirements of the law is conducted during the special examination. Candidates passed this examination at the beginning of the Competition process. And today, special examinations are generally abolished by the law for the period of wartime.
Moreover, for six months the Prosecutor General’s Office has actually ignored the provision of such “confirmation” at the request of the head of the Commission Koval dated back to December of last year. Today, when the Prosecutor General’s Office is in hands of Tatarov, “confirmation” can be received indefinitely. No deadlines have been established for the Prosecutor General’s Office.
You may ask why international experts voted for this wording? It is obvious that they believe that responsibility for this process should be borne by Ukrainian authorities. International experts have actually had to endure continuous humiliation and attempts to disrupt the process for 2 years already. Ukrainian Roman Kuybida refused to support such wording. Being deeply in the context and knowing well Ukrainian legislation and realities, he perfectly understood consequences of such decision.
What will or will not happen next? It is possible that while the Prosecutor General’s Office delays “confirmation”, which is not needed, the appeal decision regarding cancellation of the competition procedure will also appear. Bankova could use this in future to disrupt the appointment process. We should remind that in December 2021, the decision of KDAC appeared, which aimed to cancel the work procedure of the Competition Commission for the selection of head of the SAPO by non-existent norm of the law.
We should also pay attention to the fact that after formal completion of the competition procedures, the head of the Commission Kateryna Koval expressed hope that the member of the Commission from the Council of Prosecutors Drago Koss will leave the Commission.
It is obvious that this assumption of hers is connected with the fact that international partners identified Drago Kos as member of the Commission for the selection of director of the NABU. But the government in its order on his appointment made an illegal demand. Namely: Drago Koss can begin to perform his duties in the NABU Commission only when he leaves the Commission regarding the SAPO. We have repeatedly explained why the demand is illegal.
It seems that Bankova’s plan also consists in the fact that if Drago Koss leaves the SAPO Commission, Tatarov’s avatar Symonenko will promote someone “hand-raised” to the Commission from the Council of Prosecutors.
As the result, Tatarov will get another “hand-raised” member of the Commission. What is he needed for? This opens the field for further games to the Office of the President. For instance, if the Court of Appeal does uphold the decision of KDAC, then Bankova will have its majority in the Commission and will be able to avoid ceremony with international experts and Ukrainians who refused to comply with Tatarov’s will in this process.
Bankova could try to use such “hand-raised” Commission today by delaying Klymenko’s appointment for several months and even overturning already approved results.
Or such “hand-raised” Commission will be launched after Klymenko is removed from office after his appointment. In what way do you ask? This will be the task for Simonenko in his position to find such way.