The Law Enforcement Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine recommended to adopt draft law No.4681 in the first reading, which in fact would allow suspects of cases of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau to appeal the decision in top-corruption cases in Pechersk Court. The draft law was submitted by Grygoriy Mamka, Member of Parliament from the Opposition Platform for Life.
The draft law proposes to clarify that decisions in criminal proceedings can be appealed as well according to the location of the Prosecutor’s Office. Since the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office is subdivision of the Prosecutor General’s Office, this means that in practice decision of prosecutors of the SAPO and the Prosecutor General in cases of the NABU could be appealed in Pechersk Court of Kyiv, as the Prosecutor General’s Office is located in Pechersk district.
“This draft law is banal attempt to legalize still illegal scheme, when criminal proceedings are either taken away from the NABU through Pechersk Court or cancel important decisions made by prosecutors in these cases. In case of its adoption, suspects of cases will be able to legally bypass the High Anti-Corruption Court. This has already been done, for instance, in scandalous case of Oleg Tatarov and many others”, commented Olena Shcherban, the Board Member of the AntAC.
Although the draft law on the one hand does not affect norms on powers of the High Anti-Corruption Court in such cases, but adds opportunity to appeal decision of the prosecutor according to the location of the prosecutor’s office. This means that suspects of cases of the NABU will actually be able to choose where to send the appeal. Moreover, persons charged in the NABU’s cases will be able to deliberately address appeals in these cases to the Prosecutor General, in order to apply further to Pechersk Court, but not to the Anti-Corruption Court. For instance, this may include change of jurisdiction (to take the case from the NABU).
Moreover, the draft law proposes to provide opportunity for subjects of criminal proceedings to appeal in the court against decision on cancellation of decisions on closing criminal proceedings, as well as decisions and actions of the prosecutor or investigator, which were committed in the manner not provided for in criminal proceedings.
For instance, in 2019, illegally closed case on embezzlement of 1.2 billion UAH from VAB Bank, where the subject is the oligarch Oleg Bakhmatyuk, was resumed at the Prosecutor General’s Office and transferred to the NABU. And then, defense of the oligarch illegally cancelled this decision in Pechersk court, which resulted in new closure of the case. However, the Appeals Chamber of the Anti-Corruption Court resumed proceedings. After approval of this project resumption of this case, as well as others, could be canceled again through Pechersk court and, accordingly, close them.
We should recall that Pechersk court made the number of illegal decisions in cases of the NABU and the SAPO, which were used to “dump” proceedings. Thus, the judge of Pechersk District Court Sergiy Vovk ordered to take the case of deputy head of the Presidential Office Oleg Tatarov from the NABU. After that, the Prosecutor General’s Office, headed by Iryna Venediktova, did so and now the case has expired terms and there is no prospect of justice.
It made the same decision in case on seizure of power and creation of the criminal organization by judges of Kyiv District Administrative Court headed by its chairman Pavlo Vovk, as well as in the case on bribe in the amount of 5 million USD from Yanukovych-era former Minister of Ecology Mykola Zlochevsky.
Pechersk Court also ordered to take away the case from the NABU of Dubnevych’s Thermal Power Plants worth 1.4 billion UAH. Fortunately, the Appellate Chamber of the HACC saved the case by cancelling the decision of Pechersk court.