Bandits of Ukraine, keep stealing with impunity
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)