Ban­dits of Ukraine, keep steal­ing with im­punity

Kyiv Post - - Opinion - BRIAN BON­NER BON­[email protected]

Ban­dits of Ukraine, keep steal­ing with im­punity. No­body in au­thor­ity is go­ing to stop you – es­pe­cially if you’re rich, pow­er­ful or able to pay hefty bribes to the right per­son.

That’s my con­clu­sion af­ter lis­ten­ing to panel dis­cus­sions at the 12th an­nual Yalta Euro­pean Strat­egy from Sept. 10-12, tak­ing place for the sec­ond year in Kyiv since Crimea’s Yalta re­mains un­der Rus­sian oc­cu­pa­tion.

I have been in Ukraine for a long time. But I can still ap­pre­ci­ate the sad irony of a con­fer­ence run by a bil­lion­aire oli­garch, Vic­tor Pinchuk, with another bil­lion­aire oli­garch, Ri­nat Akhme­tov’s DTEK, as a spe­cial part­ner, or­ga­niz­ing a round-ta­ble talk called: “Rule of Law, De-Oli­garchiza­tion, Fight­ing Cor­rup­tion: Any News?”

Let me an­swer the ques­tion: No. There is no news. There is no de-oli­garchiza­tion cam­paign and there is no fight against cor­rup­tion un­der way – at least not one from peo­ple in the in­sti­tu­tions that should be wag­ing it: judges, pros­e­cu­tors and po­lice.

Ukraine has 18,000 pros­e­cu­tors and they are all so worth­less or cor­rupt or both that they can­not make a sin­gle big crim­i­nal case stick in a na­tion that is swimming in cor­rup­tion. How bad is the sit­u­a­tion? It is so bad that Davit Sak­vare­lidze, a new deputy pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral, is hir­ing hun­dreds of new pros­e­cu­tors to re­place the use­less ones in power.

It is so bad that there is no­body to in­ves­ti­gate the pros­e­cu­tors, es­pe­cially the long-run­ning and unan­swered ac­cu­sa­tions that the na­tion’s for­mer pros­e­cu­tor gen­er­als, in­clud­ing Oleh Makhnit­sky and Vi­taly Yarema, con­tin­ued the prac­tice of so­lic­it­ing bribes to open and close crim­i­nal cases.

It is so bad that Artem Syt­nyk, the head of the Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau, has no idea when or if his agency will be run­ning be­cause only now are law­mak­ers and pros­e­cu­tors get­ting around to ap­point­ing a com­mis­sion to ap­point an anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tor. Let me cut to the chase about why the foot-drag­ging: Politi­cians and pros­e­cu­tors have no in­ten­tion of ap­point­ing truly in­de­pen­dent and ef­fec­tive per­sons to pros­e­cu­to­rial posts, be­cause it would sur­ren­der their con­trol of the in­sti­tu­tion.

To say this sit­u­a­tion is ridicu­lous is to state the ob­vi­ous: All 18,000 of the na­tion’s pros­e­cu­tors should be anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tors.

The longer this goes on, the more the Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau will look like mere win­dow dress­ing to cre­ate the harm­ful il­lu­sion that some­thing is hap­peningap­pen­ing in the cor­rup­tion fight.

Speak­ing of cos­metic, let’s look at the new po­lice force – more than han 3,000 new uni­formed pa­trol of­fi­cers in four r cities, an in­no­va­tion led by the NEWS ITEM: On the fi­nal day of the Yalta Euro­pean Strat­egy, Ukrainian Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk spoke about cor­rup­tion, but could not name a sin­gle per­son, who has been im­pris­oned for it. “I am not re­spon­si­ble for the pros­e­cu­tors of­fice nor the ju­di­ciary,” Yat­senyuk an­swered BBC host Stephen Sackur. Head of the na­tional An­tiCor­rup­tion Bureau Artem Syt­nyk (L) lis­tens to deputy Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Davit Sak­vare­lidze (C) at the 12th Yalta Euro­pean Strat­egy fo­rum on Sept. 12 in Kyiv. Also on stage are Odesa Oblast Gover­nor Mikheil Saakashvil­i and the BBC’s Stephen Sackur. (Volodymyr Petrov)

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