How Servants of the People suggest strengthening Avakov’s power

The Anti-Corruption Action Center has analyzed the number of draft laws recently submitted by Members of Parliament of the majority faction. Their content is about strengthening structures controlled by the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov.

While the Verkhovna Rada plans to consider reports of law enforcement agencies and resolve issues of Cabinet of Ministers, some MPs are actively submitting draft laws. Some of them are aimed at strengthening Avakov. 

Thus, the draft law No. 3105 was registered on February 21 this year. It introduced the number of amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the National Guard”. The authors suggest granting officials of the National Guard the right to draw up reports regarding administrative offences against citizens, namely, violation of organization meetings, rallies, street campaigns and demonstrations, petty hooliganism, firing with rubber bullets, smoking or drinking alcohol at prohibited places and other articles.  

Moreover, they suggest allowing officials of the National Guard to administratively detain citizens for committing the above-mentioned violations and to deliver them to the place of drawing up the protocol. 

“In practice, this means that if the National Guard think that you disrupt the rally or demonstration, they will not only be able to draw down the protocol against you, but detain you in general. Today, the police had such powers. But if the draft law is approved, the number of such officials under the authority of the Minister Avakov will significantly increase. Such powers will bring the Ukrainian National Guard closer to its Russian analogue”, comments Olena Shcherban, the Board Member of the Anti-Corruption Action Center. 

The authors also suggest granting the National Guard the right to use technical devices for photography, filming and video recording. We are talking about a fairly wide range of equipment. Namely, from conventional camera recorder to drones and professional stationary equipment. 

It is important that the draft law does not specify where, under what conditions and grounds such equipment may be used. This should be specified by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, one thing is using drones in the anti-terrorist operation area in order to detect enemies, and another thing, for instance, is shooting the territory of citizens’ private premises.

The first author of the draft law is MP of the Servant of the People Maksym Pavlyuk. He is called the relative of odious businessman Pavlyuk, and who is well-known for organization of his own influence group in the faction. The second author is Oleksander Bakumov, who belongs to Avakov’s group. Most of the authors are representatives of the Law Enforcement Committee, headed by Denys Monastyrskyi who is also close to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Another important draft law No. 2560 was also submitted by Members of Parliament of the Law Enforcement Committee in December last year. The draft law is small and allegedly intended to clarify the jurisdiction of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). However, in addition to such clarification, crimes committed by officials of the category “A” fall out of the jurisdiction of the SBI. This means that such investigations can be conducted by the National Police.

Today, the article 216 of the Code of Criminal Procedure clearly states that corruption committed by officials of the category “A” is investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, and all other crimes are investigated by the SBI. For instance, officials of this category are heads of the State Tax Service, the State Customs Service, the State Aviation Service, the State Migration Service, state secretaries of ministries and others. If the draft law is approved, all these officials would be investigated by the police, except corruption and some other crimes.

The third draft law No. 2755 was also submitted in January this year by MP from the party Servant of the People Oleksander Tkachenko (not former head of the media holding 1+1). The author suggests to cancel the distribution of some requirements of the anti-corruption law regarding persons of the ordinary composition of the state criminal and executive service, persons of the ordinary composition of bodies and departments of civil protection, police officers.

This is about the fact to allow, in particular, the police to combine the work in the police with other paid activities, to run business. MP states, without hesitation, their low wages as the ground for the initiative in the explanatory note. That is why, in author’s opinion, these individuals should be allowed to officially earn extra money.

“Such changes are extremely dangerous. In fact, the police officers will be able at the same time officially work in the private security units of any oligarch and use their powers and weapons to protect not the public security, but the one who is paying extra money”, adds Shcherban.

We should recall that this is not the first time when some MPs are trying to strengthen the “acting” Minister Avakov.

*** More information on the influence of the Minister of Internal Affairs is in our article for Kyiv Post: “Arsen Avakov’s power grab” https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/tetiana-shevchuk-arsen-avakovs-power-grab.html

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