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Corruption in Ukraine

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  • Corruption in Ukraine

    Nobody should doubt my sincere support for Ukraine and my wish to this country emerge from the dark years of post communist mafia style government corruption that has blighted the well being of the Ukrainian people for so long. Along with so many other readers of this forum wanting to see the lifestyle of Ukraine's citizens improve, it has become frustrating to observe the tardy implementation of the government reforms necessary to convince the populous that the MPs in the RADA really want to overcome corruption in a timely manner.
    The World Bank, IMF and European financial institutions have made it clear to President Poroshenko that unless their ideas of reform are not implemented soon their future financial aid to Ukraine may be curtailed.
    I am starting this thread in the hope that others will contribute their comments or news clippings that will illustrate RADAs endeavour to tackle this corrosive issue.

  • #2
    Cabinet fires Nasirov almost a year after he was arrested in embezzlement probe


    • #3
      Anti-corruption court should become operational before presidential election, - EU Ambassador Mingarelli


      • #4
        Is it the truth that the Ukrainian government, in particular the administration of the Ukrainian President was trying to spin a fake news story, which would claim that the relations with international partners, in particular the IMF and the World Bank are way better than they are considered and portrayed?


        • #5
          Poroshenko sacks Lozhkin after news of $500m deal

          Ukraine's president has dismissed his chief economic adviser, Boris Lozhkin, hours after Al Jazeera contacted both men over a story that indicates they received tens of millions of dollars raised fraudulently.

          Poroshenko sacks Lozhkin after news of $500m deal | The Oligarchs News | Al Jazeera


          • #6
            On February 12, a group from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Washington office will arrive in Ukraine to assess the country’s reform progress. The visit precedes the IMF’s upcoming review, which will determine whether Ukraine will receive the next tranche of aid from the IMF.



            • #7
              Saakashvili supporters demand snap elections, announce civil resistance committee creation

              This Sunday, on 18 February 2018, Saakashvili’s supporters in Ukraine held yet another march in support of the leader of the Rukh Novykh Syl Party and ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

              Saakashvili supporters demand snap elections, announce civil resistance committee creation -Euromaidan Press |


              • #8
                Top-5 unfulfilled demands of Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution

                The Ukrainian Wikipedia says: Euromaidan (also: the Eurorevolution, Revolution of Dignity) – national-patriotic protest rallies in Ukraine, first of all, against corruption, arbitrariness of law-enforcement bodies and special forces, and also in support of Ukraine’s European vector of foreign policy.

                The top-5 unfulfilled demands of Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution -Euromaidan Press |


                • #9
                  I wish Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko would focus upon the corrupt activities going on concerning the control of the shipping administration within Odesa Port rather than pursue supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili the man who was trying to clean up the corrupt practices going on there.
                  Ukraine’s top prosecutor vows to punish those who helped Saakashvili enter country last September regardless of their status



                  • #10
                    Is President Poroshenko Dillusional?

                    [B]I thought President Petro Poroshenko engaged in self-delusion and public deception mainly abroad because he knows most foreigners don’t know what is happening in Ukraine./B]



                    • #11
                      Corruption and dirty money: the Ukrainian link

                      From the very first sentence in its key findings, corruption runs right through European anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL’s new report on Ukraine.



                      • #12
                        ATLANTIC COUNCIL Diane Francis March 12, 2018
                        Poroshenko’s Last Chance

                        An Anti-Corruption Court is the capstone that will complete an infrastructure to eliminate Ukraine’s systemic corruption and to attract massive investments.
                        President Petro Poroshenko’s current proposal misses the mark, and fails to meet the criteria stipulated by the International Monetary Fund and the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. Under Poroshenko’s bill, international experts will play only an advisory role in the selection of judges, and civil society has no role.

                        Without international oversight, the process is a sham. This is because his proposal would delegate the vetting of candidates to the same jaded judicial body that allowed in twenty-seven unacceptable persons to Ukraine’s new Supreme Court. By so doing, they ignored the Public Integrity Council that vetted the roster last year.

                        This time, Poroshenko would eliminate both the Public Integrity Council and international involvement from the process, thus creating an anti-corruption court in name only, staffed by crooks and cronies.

                        This means that—without a bullet-proof autonomous court in place—Ukraine’s anti-corruption police and prosecution institutions will continue to be guard dogs without a bite. It also means that, without the rule of law, Ukraine’s economy will continue to be unjust and unattractive.

                        Fortunately, there is still time to right this proposal as the legislation passes through committees and further readings in parliament. Significantly, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman publicly supports the IMF and Venice Commission recommendations, unlike the president’s bill.

                        Last week, Groisman elaborated to Latvian media: "We have created a system of anti-corruption authorities for a few years. We have the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, National Anti-Corruption Bureau, and Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office. What's left is to set up the Anti-Corruption Court. This court should be independent. Then it will be a guarantee for everyone that it would issue fair rulings.”

                        By contrast, Poroshenko defended his court proposal by saying that international involvement in the court’s creation would infringe on Ukraine’s sovereignty in an interview with the Financial Times.

                        By so doing, Poroshenko reneged on funding terms set by the IMF and on pledges made to the European Commission in return for relaxation of visa restrictions between Ukraine and the European Union.

                        Poroshenko never cited sovereignty issues when he gladly accepted billions of dollars, and visa privileges, from foreign donors and allies. By accepting both, he assumed the responsibility on behalf of Ukraine to deliver a truly independent “high” anti-corruption court.

                        Besides, foreign participation has been involved in Ukraine since 2014, notably concerning the appointment of specialized anti-corruption prosecutors and the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

                        He is also flouting the wishes of the public as well as of business. Political posturing aside, international investors will only accept proof, not promises, before they commit billions to build Ukraine’s economy.

                        “The fight against corruption... remains a priority for 2018, with the business community's expectations of eliminating corruption seen a key to economic growth and foreign direct investment attraction,” wrote Andy Hunder, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, in an e-mail last week.

                        A recent Chamber survey shows that his members see the creation of an Anti-Corruption Court as their number one priority. Respondents named NABU the champion of 2017, followed by electronic income declarations for state officials. And 71 percent of respondents stated that the most corrupt state institutions are the courts, 54 percent said it was tax and customs authorities, and 34 percent said local government authorities.

                        Poroshenko also went on the defensive, after activists and others have roundly criticized his court template, by repeating that the country has undertaken more reforms in the past four years than have happened in twenty-five years. Frankly, that’s not saying much, given the dreadful leaders of the past, but his point about some reforms is valid.

                        However, without the creation of a truly independent and efficient court, all the reform gains will be clawed back or sabotaged. For instance, NABU said in February that, out of the 116 cases it had sent to courts, 44 cases were not being considered. It has conducted almost 500 criminal investigations, though progress on the cases has been slow or nonexistent. Only two minor officials have been convicted to prison terms.

                        And also in February, Ukraine’s corruption rating, published by Transparency International, remained embarrassingly high and slightly worse than Russia’s.

                        Defended by tethered guard dogs, Ukrainians lack access to justice, lack opportunities to attract more foreign investment, and have no means to bring to justice former President Victor Yanukovych and his accomplices, still embedded in Ukraine’s government and society, that have looted the nation’s wealth and ruined lives.

                        This is not about a court. This is about finally changing the course of Ukrainian history. Poroshenko’s Last Chance

                        æ, !

                        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                        • #13
                          Crime without punishment: Why corruption is flourishing in Ukrainian universities
                          UNIAN Tetiana Kuznetsova 13:20, 07 March 2018

                          The public has been raging in social networks throughout the weekend over the court ruling lifting a suspension from post head of a Kyiv-based medical university Kateryna Amosova. At the same time, cases are not uncommon in Ukraine when courts take the side of rectors, deans and professors who were not just involved in scandals and fights with government officials, but were caught red-handed in blatant corruption acts.

                          For several weeks, Ukraine has been following a scandal in the medical university, where, against the backdrop of the need for students to be independently assessed via a "Krok" testing system, the university board and the Ministry of Health got into an irreconcilable fight. Recently, the rector of the educational facility, Kateryna Amosova, who was suspended from office on February 20, was reinstated by a court ruling, which sparked a wave of indignation among the supporters of the health ministry. At the same time, in Ukraine cases are not uncommon, when courts take the side of rectors, deans and professors who were caught in blatant corruption acts. Even some show-off arrests, followed by bright news headlines, gradually turned into a long litigation process, and, in fact, ended with the fact that as soon as the hype subsided, bribe-takers got away with everything.

                          The Ministry of Education and Science does not deny this pressing problem. But officials refer to law enforcement bodies, claiming it's them who could update the press on stats on criminal cases launched and arrests made, and it's Ukrainian courts who are to hand down verdicts.

                          If we monitor the reports of the press offices of prosecutor's offices across Ukraine, it turns out that bribes in educational facilities are recorded almost on a monthly basis. And the sums of bribes (demanded both by lab assistants and professors, department boards and deans) range from UAH 2,500 to $5,000.

                          A website monitoring violations of the rights of teachers and students in higher educational facilities recorded more than 400 violations in various universities. Almost 41% of them are related to bribe extortion and other types of corruption. Bribe-takers seem to not be spooked off by a rather severe punishment for such an offense - from five to ten years of imprisonment with the ban to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to three years with confiscation of property.

                          However, such "fearlessness" can be explained. The thing is that even high-profile detentions do not guarantee a sure "lock-up" of bribe takers. And there are also such egregious cases where, having received a bribe, the offender somehow appears to be clean before the law. UNIAN decided to recall several such stories.

                          Dean, the recidivist
                          Several fresh stories from the reports of the prosecutor's offices about bribe takers in Ukrainian universities show that you a master's degree can be secured for $300 (head of one of the Zaporizhia-based universities was recently busted in such a case); a diploma and successful passing of state exams in Vinnytsia-based National University (evacuated from Donetsk) will cost a bit more ($500). Late last year, head of one of the branches of the university and department head were caught in a sting operation); while in Kyiv, some $400 will have to be paid for a simple test (a couple of months ago, a professor was fired for such "services" from one of the Kyiv universities).

                          For example, a director of the National Institute of the Danube University "Odesa Maritime Academy" Maria Yarmolenko systematically extorted from applicants $300 to $1,500 for corrupt assistance in the academic process. At the end of March 2016, Yarmolenko was detained red-handed in one of the restaurants in Odesa, where she received $900 from an applicant for being enrolling for their junior year in the institute... By the way, after her detention, law enforcers found another $20,000 in her banking cell. That is, this "little business" was more than successful for Yarmolenko.

                          In April of the same year, the court ruled to arrest her. And, it seems, justice triumphed, if not for a little nuance. It turned out that it was not the first charge pressed against Maria Yarmolenko. In 2011, being the Dean of one of the faculties at the same institute, she took a $500 bribe. Yarmolenko was detained at her office. As a result, she spent ten days in custody, and then released on her own recognizance. The ex-Dean did not admit her guilt though. In November 2012, the Izmail court sentenced a woman to 4 years and 11 months in prison with confiscation of property and a ban on occupying executive positions within three years after leaving the colony. But the Court of Appeal ... acquitted the bribe taker and removed all charges. As a result, Yarmolenko retained her post and even got a promotion...

                          Elusive rector
                          One of the most high-profile figures, who made a business out of accepting applicants for money, is the ex-rector of the University of the State Fiscal Service (the Tax Academy), Petro Melnyk. In July 2013, he got busted at his office after leaving his fingerprints on marked banknotes having accepted a bribe of UAH 120,000 from two families who wanted to have their kids study at the university. Immediately after the arrest, the previously healthy bribe taker suddenly fell ill. To attend a court hearing on August 1, 2013, he arrived in the ambulance and drove into the courtroom in a wheelchair.

                          æ, !

                          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                          • #14
                            Crime w/o Punishment Pt 2

                            Given Melnyk's "poor state of health," the Kyiv Pechersk district court did not put him behind bars, choosing a 2-month house arrest. And ... the suspect fled on August 9, having got rid of the ankle bracelet. By the way, he is now the first person in the history of Ukraine who managed to somehow remove the bracelet.

                            The fugitive was put on the Interpol wanted list and has long been hiding abroad. However, after the Revolution of Dignity, he returned to Ukraine. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in April 2014 reported on his detention at the Boryspil airport. Pechersky court did not repeat the old mistakes and set a UAH 22 million bail. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal reduced the sum substantially. As a result, Petro Melnyk submitted a UAH 609,000 bail and once again avoided being taken into custody, put under house arrest.

                            A few months later, in July 2014, the case of Mr Melnyk, who was facing up to 9 years in jail, was transferred to the court of Irpin, the town where the Tax Academy is based. The judge withdrew so the case was forwarded to another court, in the settlement of Borodyanka. About a year later, Melnyk was acquitted and a seizure warrant was lifted off his assets.

                            It is curious to note that the Borodyanka court in December 2017 found Melnyk not guilty of committing another crime - the illegal sale of four buildings belonging to the state university, which he headed, to a company founded by his wife and son.

                            According to the investigation, they were sold for slightly more than UAH 10 million, although their market value is three times higher, according to experts.

                            Business of a Kyiv General
                            Another case of great public interest is the one of Major-General of the Kyiv Military Lyceum, Daniil Romanenko, who was in July 2013 caught on a $5,000 bribe. Romanenko demanded the sum from one of the applicants from a low-income family. Journalists have unearthed allegations that this was not an isolated case, since parents of other applicants span rumors about the "fees" of $5,000-8,000 to ensure that their kids are accepted.

                            Criminal proceedings were opened and the Major-General was facing a prison term of 8 to 12 years. Romanenko chose not to testify following the arrest. But just a few days later, he was bailed out for UAH 97,000. The case was forwarded to court in November. In December 2014, Gen. Romanenko was sentenced to three years in prison. But in July 2016, the bribe-taker was released because of ... the prosecutor's error. The prosecutor allegedly made a procedural error in the indictment papers.

                            Bribes at the National Aviation University
                            While mediocre corruption-stained professors stick around sums ranging from $300 to $5,000, some heads of universities do not hesitate to take astonishing sums up to hundreds of thousands dollars. One of the most high-profile cases of such level is the scandal at the National Aviation University. In 2016, Acting Rector Volodymyr Kharchenko was detained for demanding a staggering sum of EUR 170,000 from a professor who wished to receive a post in the university. He was detained after receiving a part of the amount, EUR 100,000. Along with the rector, his accomplice was also detained, a lawyer Serhiy Kryzhanivsky. In the course of searches, law enforcers found another UAH 5 million and nine gold bars in the rector's home. Kharchenko assured that he had earned these UAH 5 million on his own.

                            Immediately after his arrest, Kharchenko and Kryzhanivsky's health suddenly "worsened", rather traditionally for corruption-related cases in Ukraine... For the entire period before the indictment was handed down, both men have stayed at a hospital. Even when the case was forwarded to court, the defendants did not appear at hearings, referring to their poor state of health. Both men were facing up to 12 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property and a ban on holding certain posts for three years after being released...

                            In September 2017, the Shevchenkivsky Court of Kyiv ruled to put Kharchenko under house arrest, and in December, the Pechersky Court of Kyiv softened the prevention measure to an ankle bracelet. But the most interesting part is that, for some mysterious reasons, Kharchenko has not yet been suspended from thethe post of NAU's Vice Rector.

                            When a bribe is not yet corruption
                            If even big fish remain unpunished, it is almost impossible to bring to responsibility those ordinary professors who engage in bribery. The thing is that dirty university staff who do not occupy administrative positions are not considered "corrupt officials". "We do not have a serious punishment for bribery, because very often the money is taken by regular professors, not heads of departments or deans. This is the casuistry of terms in our legislation. If someone has no administrative authority at the university, don't manage a department or are appointed a dean, rector, or pro-rector, their actions are not considered corruption and no real serious penalties are provided. But when the money is taken by a person occupying an administrative position, then this is considered corruption and punishment is more serious. But, frankly, they're all one swarm," says Yehor Stadny, head of the educational policy analysis department at CEDOS.

                            However, according to him, bribery in universities will flourish until the students contribute to the fight against this problem. After all, students often provoke bribery with "voluntary contributions". "This system exists provided voluntary consent because its roots lie in mutual interest: "My class is completely unnecessary to you, but it is in your schedule, so I will appreciate your gratitude for me assessing you while not demanding to study."

                            However, there are exceptions to the rules. One of these is the dispute between Yulia Mendel, a graduate student at the Institute of Philology of the Kyiv National University, and her professor Yuriy Kovaliv. In 2016, Yulia wrote an article for one of the European publications, claiming she was forced to bribe her academic adviser. According to the young woman, the professor would not accept her thesis until she put $200 between the pages of her work. The teacher denies accusations and insists that the graduate student slandered him. Therefore, he filed a lawsuit in one of the district courts of Kherson on protection of reputation and requires that Yulia Mendel pay a compensation of $40... The case is yet to see the court's decision.

                            æ, !

                            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                            • #15
                              ATLANTIC COUNCIL Tetyana OgarkovaApril 19, 2018
                              Why Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Drive Is Failing

                              After the victory of the Euromaidan, the demand for combating corruption drastically increased, and new institutions were established to fight high-level corruption. However, there is an ongoing conflict between two of the newly established agencies that greatly diminishes their ability to fight corruption. Below we explain the fight in ten question and answers.

                              1. What are Ukraine’s newly established anti-corruption agencies? Today, three anticorruption agencies are operational in Ukraine. The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAZK) monitors the process of asset declaration by civil servants, and ensures they are resistant to corruption risks. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) investigates high-level corruption and big bribery cases. Finally, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) oversees NABU investigations and represents the state prosecution in court against those charged with top corruption or bribery.

                              2. What is the inter-agency conflict about? Serious disagreements between the management of NABU and SAPO have been in place for a long time. NABU’s unofficial claims against SAPO include the latter’s illegal dismissal of criminal cases against certain officials, and the involvement of the head of SAPO—as well as other staff members—in corrupt activities. In turn, SAPO is accusing NABU detectives of a lack of competence in preparing investigative materials. In spring 2017, the head of NABU, Artem Sytnyk, and the leader of SAPO, Nazar Kholodnytskyi, signed a “memorandum on cooperation” through the mediation of the US Embassy in Ukraine, but they have not normalized their relationship.

                              3. What are the accusations against SAPO? Sytnyk accused Kholodnytskyi of disclosing the materials from criminal cases and hampering NABU’s work. According to Sytnyk, when NABU detectives arrived in Odesa with search warrants in the case regarding the city mayor, several key actors had left the city in a quick and well-organized manner; some even stayed abroad for almost two months. “We have serious grounds to assume that the information was leaked to the case actors by the head of SAPO, who, as it turned out, had information on their whereabouts that the investigation was not aware of,” Sytnyk said.

                              4. Where does evidence against Kholodnytskyi come from? Throughout March, NABU detectives were tapping conversations in Kholodnytskyi’s office. The conversations recorded on tape are the main evidence against Kholodnytskyi.

                              5. What is in the tapes? These documents are classified, but some journalists had a brief look at portions of the information. They include discussions of several high-profile cases: embezzlement in the office of the Odesa mayor; the case started at the request of the acting Healthcare Minister Ulana Suprun on her being offered a bribe; the Zolotyi Mandaryn company being linked to MP Heorhiy Lohvynskyi; investigations linked to assets of high-level officials; and investigations linked to business interests of the owner of a big agricultural company. The tapes are important evidence for Sytnyk, as they confirm NABU’s suspicions. Kholodnytskyi, however, claimed the taped conversations were taken out of context.

                              6. How are the heads of NABU and SAPO reacting? Both officials are trying to avoid a public scandal and excessive media attention; they both realize that this conflict will discredit their organizations. Sytnyk is concerned that his agency’s evidence will not be taken into consideration, while Kholodnytskyi has grounds to be concerned that the evidence will be confirmed. So, for example, on April 4, when both Sytnyk and Kholodnytskyi were supposed to address parliament, they made a joint statement that there is no conflict between their agencies and sat next to each other to reinforce the point.

                              7. What is the role of “old” law enforcement institutions in the conflict? The old institutions are the Office of the Prosecutor General, headed by Yuriy Lutsenko; the Security Service of Ukraine, headed by Vasyl Hrytsak; and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, headed by Arsen Avakov. Just a few months ago, in December 2017, they all took a stand against NABU. At that time, Sytnyk was defending his agency against attacks by Lutsenko and Hrytsak, who were trying to convince the Rada to simplify the procedure to dismiss the heads of anti-corruption agencies, including NABU. International partners managed to convince the Ukrainian authorities to give up that idea. But in the last four months, Sytnyk teamed up with Lutsenko to investigate the work of Kholodnytskyi. Some suspect that the Office of the Prosecutor General is hoping to take control over SAPO.

                              8. Why is the standoff dangerous? NABU and SAPO are complementary parts of one system: NABU investigates corruption, and SAPO manages the process and represents the state prosecution in court. If the two institutions fight, it leads to decreased efficiency in the investigation process and in the fight against corruption. Experts have said NABU “shot itself in the foot” by investigating Kholodnytskyi. Sytnyk also said that SAPO’s sabotage affects NABU detectives, who lose motivation when the cases they investigate have no results.

                              9. What to expect next? The case against Kholodnytskyi is most likely to result in a disciplinary sanction. The case will be considered by the Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors, and NABU will request that it dismiss Kholodnytskyi. There is no clear protocol as to who should be designated the acting head of SAPO if he is dismissed. In theory, the agency can be temporarily headed by the first deputy head of SAPO until the commission selects new candidates and submits them to the president for consideration.

                              10. Are there grounds for optimism? Suspicions of corruption within the agencies meant to fight corruption have a serious impact in society and for Ukraine’s international reputation. However, it’s possible that the problem springs from specific personnel, rather than from SAPO’s systematic processes. “What makes us feel optimistic is that the main part of the SAPO staff are professionals with the proper values. Thanks to these people we have achieved a result. Thus, SAPO as an agency needs to be saved at all costs,” Sytnyk said. If Kholodnytskyi is found guilty and he must leave office, it may well be a step toward the reconciliation of both agencies and their eventual cooperation.
                              Why Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Drive Is Failing

                              æ, !

                              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp