"After the victory over the Russian occupier, Ukraine will face no less difficult challenge - the fight against corruption," says NABU Director Artem Sytnyk. "There are still many battles ahead. NABU is ready for them."
Russia's military aggression has actualized the application of anti-corruption practices at all levels of government and the responsibility of top officials for the efficient use of state resources. Over seven years, the National Bureau has developed effective internal management tools and introduced the latest practices to track corruption flows.
"Ukraine aspires to become a full member of the European Union, which requires further implementation of anti-corruption reform. War is not a reason to stop it. On the contrary, we need to speed up, because we simply do not have the extra resources to pay for corruption,” Artem Sytnyk believes. According to him, the Bureau's expertise should be adopted not only by law enforcement agencies but also by other state bodies.
On April 16, 2022, Artem Sytnyk's term as Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine expired. After seven years since his appointment, he has managed to set up a law enforcement institution from scratch applying approaches unique to Ukraine and taking into account the best international practices; transformed NABU into an effective pre-trial investigation agency capable of exposing top-level political corruption and withstanding the resistance of the system.
“I am proud of the team we've built. The team, which, despite its small number, acts as an army that instills fear in corrupt officials," Artem Sytnyk explains. "There have always been corruption investigations in Ukraine, but they concerned either former officials or lower-level staff. Top officials and the top leadership of the state stayed intact. Until NABU appeared. After our detectives launched their first investigations, the political elite got really scared," he said goes on. "I am sure that despite the fact that the war is not over, the NABU team will continue to investigate corruption schemes, act under the law, profess anti-corruption ideology, and prove that the caste of the untouchables no longer exists in Ukraine".
During Artem Sytnyk's term as NABU Director, 1,082 people were prosecuted, including 6 ministers and their deputies, 13 heads of central executive bodies, 23 deputies of various convocations (current and former), 68 judges, and 113 heads of state enterprises. NABU detectives and SAPO prosecutors sent 368 indictments against 694 persons to court. As of the end of March 2022, 73 court verdicts against 89 people had taken effect, including 18 prison sentences against 22 persons.
UAH 3.8 billion was refunded in corruption cases investigated by the National Bureau. The overall economic effect of NABU's work exceeds UAH 7 billion, of which over UAH 2 billion are public funds and assets whose embezzlement was prevented.
"With our work, we have shown that in Ukraine it is possible not to take bribes, work under the law and achieve results," Artem Sytnyk stresses.
Institutional independence is the basic principle that determines the effective operation of the National Bureau as an agency that prevents and exposes top corruption. It is based on a special procedure for the appointment and dismissal of the Director, as well as unique functionality. Over the seven years, NABU has constantly faced attempts to deprive it of institutional independence. So now it is more important than ever to defend this legacy of anti-corruption reform led by the National Bureau.
“NABU is an example of successful reform in Ukraine. This is the brand that actually leads us to the EU. Therefore, our integration into the European community depends on how NABU will proceed or whether attempts to dismantle it will be made.
Unfortunately, I don't see the readiness of the political elite to live in a new way, and I don't rule out there will be many more such attempts," Artem Sytnyk says. "So the support of Western partners is still crucial. I am sure they will continue to support NABU and the desire of Ukrainians to live in a country without corruption. I would also like to see the time when the National Bureau will be an ally of the President, the Prime Minister, the top leadership of the state in the fight against corruption, and not an institution that must constantly be saved from attempts to eliminate it. It is my dream to see this in 3-5 years.”
Artem Sytnyk began his professional career in July 2001 as an assistant prosecutor in Kropyvnytskyi. During 10 years in law enforcement, Artem Sytnyk personally investigated and/or led investigative teams in more than 300 criminal cases, many of which involved corruption-related crimes.
Following successful corruption investigations conducted by Artem Sytnyk or his investigative teams, judges, Security Service, internal affairs, tax police, and customs officers, district and state administration officials, regional, city, and district council deputies, State Land Committee, water management, consumer protection, State Penitentiary Service, and State Environmental Inspectorate officials were brought to justice.
Moreover, eight members of the election commission, seven of whom were deputies of the Kirovohrad regional and city councils, were prosecuted for falsifying the results of the presidential election in Ukraine within territorial constituency #100. As part of the investigation of this criminal case, Artem Sytnyk's team questioned about 5,000 witnesses and conducted more than 200 expert studies. The gathered evidence was enough to prove the guilt of the accused during the trial.
In January 2015, Artem Sytnyk decided to participate in the competition for the position of Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
On April 16, 2015, by the Decree of the President of Ukraine, Artem Sytnyk was appointed Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.