Gor­batuk: Prose­cu­tors cover up for judges in­ves­ti­gated for graft

Kyiv Post - - National - BY OLEG SUKHOV

Sergii Gor­batuk, head of the in ab­sen­tia in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit of the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral’s Of­fice, has ac­cused the lead­er­ship of the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice of hold­ing back on in­ves­ti­gat­ing judges sus­pected of cor­rup­tion as a means to main­tain con­trol and in­flu­ence over the ju­di­ciary.

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral’s Of­fice, which had de­nied sim­i­lar ac­cu­sa­tions in the past, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

One promi­nent case con­cerns three in­cum­bent and sev­eral for­mer judges of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. They are ac­cused of is­su­ing sev­eral rul­ings that en­abled ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych to mo­nop­o­lize power in 2010. The judges de­nied any wrong­do­ing in their rul­ings.

Since Septem­ber 2014, no in­ves­tiga­tive ac­tions were taken in the case be­fore it was trans­ferred to the in ab­sen­tia in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit in 2016, Gor­batuk told the Kyiv Post.

“(The judges) were kept on a leash,” he said. “Prose­cu­tors were told not to touch them be­cause the judges had to is­sue a cer­tain rul­ing. We were told that the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion was be­hind such in­struc­tions.”

The Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion called the ac­cu­sa­tions “lies.”

Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Yuriy Lut­senko claimed that Con­sti­tu­tional Court judges can­not be charged due to tech­ni­cal­i­ties of Ukrainian law, while Gor­batuk said that he be­lieves they can be charged in the case.

Gor­batuk also said that Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Anzhela Stryzhevska had been try­ing to take the $5,000 bribery case against Yuriy Ko­val, for­mer head of Myko­layiv Oblast's Com­mer­cial Court, away from his unit.

Ko­val said in the in­ter­views that law en­forcers pro­voked him to take a bribe and con­se­quently beat him up.

Gor­batuk claimed that Stryzhevska had sum­moned the pros­e­cu­tor and in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the Ko­val case and asked them “How dare you com­plete the in­ves­ti­ga­tion?” Mean­while, Ko­val has met with Lut­senko at an of­fi­cial meet­ing de­spite be­ing a sus­pect, he added.

Stryzhevska did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Yet an­other ex­am­ple is the case of Volodymyr Babenko, chair­man of Cherkasy Oblast’s Court of Ap­peal, who is ac­cused of un­law­fully pres­sur­ing Ser­hiy Bon­darenko, a judge of his court, and of il­le­gally sell­ing a build­ing that be­longed to the Cherkasy City Coun­cil. Babenko de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions.

Gor­batuk said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the build­ing sold by Babenko had been un­law­fully taken away from his unit, and Stryzhevska had been re­fus­ing to sign a no­tice of sus­pi­cion in the un­law­ful pres­sure case since Septem­ber.

Stryzhevska is also re­fus­ing to sign a no­tice of sus­pi­cion for Ana­toly Ivchenko, a judge of the Kyiv Com­mer­cial Court. Ivchenko is ac­cused of is­su­ing an un­law­ful rul­ing when he re­quired the Ukrainian gov­ern­ment to sat­isfy the Rus­sian De­fense Min­istry’s Hr 3.1 bil­lion debt claim against United En­ergy Sys­tems of Ukraine in 2012. Ivchenko couldn’t be reached for com­ment.

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