Anti-cor­rup­tion cir­cus

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

The prize for be­ing Ukraine’s fun­ni­est clowns goes to the top of­fi­cials of the Se­cu­rity Ser­vice of Ukraine, or SBU, and the Na­tional Agency for Pre­vent­ing Cor­rup­tion.

Re­formist for­mer cus­toms of­fi­cial Yu­lia Maru­shevska said on Feb. 8 that SBU Deputy Chief Pavlo Dem­chyna had asked the anti-cor­rup­tion agency to in­ves­ti­gate her over an $18 bonus that she awarded to her­self. In Jan­uary, the Na­tional Agency for Pre­vent­ing Cor­rup­tion also started prob­ing anti-cor­rup­tion law­maker Sergii Leshchenko for get­ting $333 for de­liv­er­ing lec­tures. The anti-cor­rup­tion show eclipsed cir­cuses all over Ukraine. Among those laugh­ing were both cronies of ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and in­cum­bent top of­fi­cials who steal bil­lions of dol­lars and whose cases are go­ing nowhere.

The Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Agency is headed by Natalia Kor­chak, an ally of the Peo­ple’s Front party, and Rus­lan Radet­zky, an as­so­ciate of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko. Last year the agency did its best to sab­o­tage the launch of of­fi­cials’ elec­tronic as­set dec­la­ra­tions, and it has not checked a sin­gle dec­la­ra­tion since they were fi­nally launched last Septem­ber.

An­other anti-cor­rup­tion cru­sader con­cerned with Maru­shevska’s wealth is Dem­chyna, a pro­tege of Poroshenko’s top al­lies, Ihor Kononenko and Olek­sandr Hra­novsky. They are ac­cused of run­ning the gov­ern­ment’s big­gest graft schemes, while deny­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions.

State Fis­cal Ser­vice Chief Ro­man Nasirov has also launched a bribery probe against Maru­shevska. Nasirov is a sym­bol of cor­rup­tion to his crit­ics: he has de­clared mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar wealth and has been ac­cused of run­ning graft schemes by his own ex-deputy, Kostyan­tyn Likarchuk. He too de­nies the al­le­ga­tions.

Per­haps it’s time to re­name Ukraine’s anti-cor­rup­tion in­sti­tu­tions as anti-anti-cor­rup­tion ones? It is ob­vi­ous that, in­stead of fight­ing cor­rup­tion, they are do­ing the ex­act op­po­site: per­se­cut­ing anti-graft ac­tivists and crit­ics of the gov­ern­ment.

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