During October-December 2017 a joint team of independent experts in the sphere of evaluating the effectiveness of law-enforcement agencies assessed the work of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor`s Office (SAPO) based on three cornerstone elements: effectiveness, efficiency and independence. As a result the experts provided the detailed report (for full version of the report please follow the link), containing a set of recommendations for further institutional development.
The independent experts were commissioned by the United State Embassy and the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine.
The assessment was performed by a team of independent experts:
Carol Taraszka (Audit Manager, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice),
Eric Johnson (Assistant Inspector General, Investigations Division, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice),
Flemming Denker (former Deputy State Prosecutor, Special Advisor at the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime, Denmark, Council of Europe Anticorruption Expert),
Dmytro Kotlyar (Anticorruption Expert, Ukraine).
The report is based on the following methodology:
- study of replies to a questionnaire, statistics and other materials provided by NABU;
- interviews with NABU leadership, management, detectives and other staff;
- interviews with SAPO, General Prosecutor`s Office of Ukraine (GPO) and other stakeholders, including international and non-governmental organizations;
- visits to the NABU three filed offices in Lviv, Odesa and Kharkiv
- desk review and analysis.
The experts also reviewed a sample of actual cases, which were either closed by NABU/SAPO due to insufficient evidence or other reasons, and proceedings with a final court decision (two cases).
In its assessment the international experts analyzed the internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external threats for NABU and SAPO. Among NABU’s key achievements the experts noted that it employs a professional, energetic, and extremely engaged staff that in less than three years has grown from an organization in law only to a thriving anti-corruption law enforcement organization. The assessment team believes that the NABU has developed a strong Internal Control Unit that performs its tasks as required by the NABU Law and works closely with the Civil Oversight Council, which performs external oversight and plays a key role in ensuring NABU’s accountability.
During the assessment, the team noted numerous attempts to influence and pressure on the NABU from outside, which especially intensified in the end of 2017. But the team found no signs that attempts of such external interference in the NABU’s work were successful or that investigations it conducted were skewed by undue interests. In addition, the assessment team did not identify any serious procedural mistakes, human rights violations, or pervasive practices of abuse within the NABU.
High priority recommendations requiring internal NABU action:
- Take steps to initiate regular meetings between the NABU and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) and between the NABU and the SAPO to facilitate the necessary communication and cooperation between the agencies.
- Review provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code on the registration of crime notifications to ensure clarity and legal certainty then develop, disseminate, and provide training on NABU policy guidelines for treatment of incoming allegations of crime and their registration in the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations.
High priority recommendations requiring external action:
- Avoid changes in the legislative framework regulating the NABU operation without prior extensive consultations involving the NABU, the SAPO, other law enforcement agencies, civil society, experts, and other stakeholders.
- Amend Article 263 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine to authorize NABU to directly intercept telecommunications without relying on any other agency’s technical means.
- Revise the status of the SAPO to make it an autonomous public prosecution office, which will limit the role of the Prosecutor General in the organization of SAPO’s work, deciding on its number of staff, and its organizational structure.
- Urgently improve working conditions and capacity of the district court that is reviewing NABU pretrial motions.
- Ensure swift establishment of the new High Anti-Corruption Court and selection of its professional judges with high integrity through an open and competitive selection process in line with the international recommendations.
- Ensure NABU has the necessary and effective access to NACP’s database of asset declarations.
In light of the fact that many of NABU`s investigations remain pending and were therefore outside of the scope of this assessment, it is the assessment team’s opinion that NABU’s performance since its inception in 2015 has been effective and met the necessary efficiency. The expert group considers that a full assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of NABU’s work, however, can only be considered when a number of cases in which the indicted person denies guilt have been concluded by the courts.
The full Assessment is available at: https://nabu.gov.ua/technical-assessment-bureaus-first-3-years-activity