AntAC Welcomes Changes to NABU Law, but Warns on Last-Minute Flaws
On February 12, 2015 Ukrainian parliament passed the law, which significantly amends the existing legislation on National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) to be set up in Ukraine on the following months.
AntAC welcomes such a decision of a legislator, as it introduces crucial safeguards for the independent work of NABU, specifically:
- High salaries for staff of NABU (starting from 22,000 UAH for detectives and 60,000 UAH for a Director)
- Setting up Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution, which will have a certain level of autonomy within existing Prosecutor General Office.
- Banning officers who used to work during the last 5 years at special anti-corruption designated units within existing law enforcement agencies to apply for the positions in NABU and Special Anti-corruption Prosecution.
- External audit to be conducted annually to assess effectiveness of NABU work, its operational and institutional independence. The auditors should have excellent professional reputation, be not public officials in Ukraine and possess experience of work in investigative agencies, prosecution, courts abroad or international organizations
- NABU investigators will have power to monitor banking accounts based on a court order
However, AntAC highlighted flaws, which could diminish key positive provisions of the new law.
There was voted last-minute change* to the law permitting dismissal of a director of NABU by a President only or by a single parliamentary majority based on a negative annual report of the External Audit. External Auditors (3 in total) are to be appointed, one per each, by the President, Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers. Therefore, this clause opens high risk of political dismissal of a Director of NABU: firstly, Prime-Minister and President by appointing 2 out of 3 auditors could influence on negative report of the External Audit; secondly, based on this report the President alone could fire a Director of NABU.
“It is likely that Prime-Minister and a President of Ukraine secured themselves and people under their political influence from possible investigations by NABU. If NABU Director triggers uncomfortable investigation against, for example, deputy Minister and or senior officials within Presidential Administration, only two people could easily enter into political agreement and dismiss him”, – explains political threats Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Board of AntAC.
AntAC urges parliament to review these particular clauses before they could be abused in putting political pressure on the work of NABU diminishing its independence.
*The change was announced by Y.Lutsenko prior the official vote in the parliament