2016 was the first full year of the NABU’s work. Looking back, it is hard to believe that we entered it with only 70 detectives and 50 criminal proceedings registered. Within the following 12 months we, together with Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, already managed to return 115 mln UAH to the state enterprises’ accounts, to prevent more than half a billion UAH public funds embezzlement, to destroy a set of large-scale corruption schemes. As of beginning of February 2017 we have sent more than 50 cases to court and already have 12 convictions. 176 detectives are already in Bureau’s team and we hope that soon the unit will be staffed completely.
Having a good inside view of all the processes, I would compare the NABU’s work in 2016 with sprint: we did our best to achieve the maximum result and to demonstrate the public our capability to be the driving force of positive changes in the country. And indeed in 2016 the public trust was stably increasing with every new investigation. And on the contrary – an absolutely different picture could be seen when it came to politics. It was obvious from the very beginning that the lion’s share of complaints and negative messages regarding the NABU’s work were coming from participants of criminal proceedings and their party fellows. But a year after I can say that we are used to work disregarding information. Our aim is to keep the same level of trust the public and international society granted us. And we are sure that one of the main conditions for this is convictions. That is the very reason we don’t hide our disturbance when we see how our cases are “getting stuck” in unreformed courts, how the trials are delayed for months.
Still we continue to do our job and we will stay our ground, openly and reasonably advocating for the changes. We do insist on creation of specialized anticorruption courts and on granting the Bureau with the right for autonomous wiretapping.
I have no doubts Ukraine has made its first serious steps on the way to recovering from the corruption sickness. All NABU’s resonance cases, launch of e-declarations, ProZorro system adoption and restriction of judges’ immunity are the first valid results of 25 years of Ukraine’s independence. And I urge all indifferent – do not get disappointed! Let us better protect all the achievements together, stand shoulder to shoulder to ensure all the changes are irreversible, because the fight against corruption requires systematic approach and ongoing public control.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the NABU’s national and international supporters. Together we have made an excellent start. But there is a long and hard marathon ahead and we hope that it will lead to the real convictions, to the funds returned and most of all – that it will break the impunity of Ukrainian officials, because inevitable punishment is the best vaccination against corruption sickness.
Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine