The anti-corruption reform in Ukraine, launched in 2014 after the Revolution of Dignity, has proven that the victory over corruption is only possible with its effective prevention, fair punishment for crimes, political will and constant public control. This was emphasized by Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem Sytnyk during the conference "7 Years of Anti-Corruption Reforms: Challenges and Results", which took place on Dec. 9, 2021 in Kyiv.
"Prevention and zero tolerance for corruption on the one hand, crime exposure, fair punishment, political will, and control of society on the other - only together we can build Ukraine without corruption," he said.
Summing up the past 7 years, Artem Sytnyk marked the end of the institutional formation of the National Bureau. "During the 7 years of struggle, we have developed an effective anti-corruption system, prosecuted the untouchables, and "motivated" the corrupt to return what they stole to the State. We have established effective cooperation among anti-corruption bodies both inside and outside the country, which will allow us to strengthen the fight against corruption in Ukraine over the next 7 years," the NABU Director said.
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova stressed the need to involve all state authorities in the fight against corruption. "All public institutions should fight corruption," Iryna Venediktova stated.
EU Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas praised the work of anti-corruption agencies. "It’s time to start developing the zero tolerance narrative. We will support Ukraine on this path. Sustaining the independence and effectiveness of NABU, SAPO, HACC, NACP that have been successfully established over the last 7 years should be a clear priority," he said.
The success of Ukraine on the anti-corruption front was also noted by Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in Ukraine Christina Quinn. "Despite many challenges, Ukraine has made significant advances in the fight against corruption since the Revolution of Dignity. The NABU’s cases have returned more than UAH 3 billion to the State budget and prevented the theft of the further UAH 2 billion. But these cases are not just about money, they have shown the Ukrainian people that corrupt elites are not untouchable," said Christina Quinn.
In turn, Head of the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI) Allan Pagh Christensen said that the fight against corruption requires the attention and active participation of all citizens. "Fighting corruption is not only for anti-corruption institutions. We need to remember great work of the civil society, of the brave investigative journalists – they are key partners in fighting corruption,” he underlined.
HACC Head Olena Tanasevych spoke about the peculiarities of the trial in top-corruption cases and stressed that there is still a lot of work to be done on the anti-corruption front. "During these 7 years of joint efforts, we have managed to raise the country's CPI from 152 to 124. However, there is a hard path ahead. Despite our efforts, still, there are people who seek illegal enrichment," Olena Tanasevych said.
Acting SAPO Head Maksym Hryshchuk spoke about the difficulties in the work of detectives and prosecutors. "The work of detectives and prosecutors is full of challenges. One of them is that other institutions are investigating offences falling under NABU’s jurisdiction. This affects the outcome," he outlined.
The effective work of all anti-corruption agencies is possible only if they are independent and completely apolitical. "When we speak about the sustainability of achievements, the independence and effective functioning of anti-corruption institutions will be the key. Now it is time to ensure that the next chapter for NABU, SAPO and ARMA is successful and that independent and highly professional leadership will enter these institutions," Eka Tkeshelashvili said.
To maintain NABU’s sustainable development, the Bureau's Development Strategy until 2023 was prepared and presented at the conference by Roman Osypchuk, head of the NABU Internal Control Department. "This strategy is a guide for the Bureau work. Even after the election of a new NABU Director, it will be clear where and how to move forward," he stated.
Not only fighting corruption but also its prevention is important. To this end NABU constantly holds public events, discussions and thus forms zero tolerance for corruption in society. "It is important to establish interaction and cooperation among anti-corruption agencies, civil society, the media and other institutions, because our only goal is to fight corruption. Only together we will be able to effectively combat corruption," said Svitlana Olifira, head of the NABU External Communications Department.
Other achievements of the last 7 years include the introduction of new technologies and the digitalization of criminal justice. These tools significantly increase the pace and efficiency of investigations. "The eCase electronic system, which will be launched in the near future, will allow NABU, SAPO and the HACC to interact online. This will speed up the process of information exchange, as well as increase efficiency among anti-corruption bodies," said Denys Gulmagomedov, head of a detective department.
On Dec. 9, 2021, on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day, Kyiv hosted the conference "7 Years of Anti-Corruption Reforms: Challenges and Results" organized by NABU, NACP, EU Anti-Corruption Initiative and USAID. Ukrainian and foreign anti-corruption actors discussed their achievements, current and future challenges. In particular, its speakers included Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau Artem Sytnyk, acting Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Maksym Hryshchuk, Head of the National Agency for Corruption Prevention Oleksandr Novikov, Head of the High Anti-Corruption Court Olena Tanasevych, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova. The event was also attended by Ukraine's international partners, representatives of the Verkhovna Rada, ministries and the public sector, journalists and human rights activists.