NABU is an effective pre-trial investigation body that has proven its ability to counter top-level corruption in the last seven years. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain the achieved results and established good practices. This is the biggest challenge of 2022 and the key task for a new NABU Director. This was emphasized by Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau Artem Sytnyk at the presentation of NABU's results in the second half of 2021.
"In October 2021, the Parliament passed amendments to the law, according to which the National Bureau became a central executive body with a special status. Despite the change in status, NABU's institutional independence has been preserved and this is a victory for sure. This was made possible by the support of the public and international partners. The Bureau is now fully institutionalized, and even after the change of leadership, it is impossible to influence its work and the team," Artem Sytnyk said.
According to him, now it is extremely important to finish the competition for a new SAPO head, which began in January last year and has not yet ended. However, despite all the challenges, Detectives and Prosecutors managed to show effectiveness in investigations in the second half of 2021.
"The high-ranking officials exposed during the second half of 2021 include an MP, the chairman of the Kharkiv Regional Council, and a member of the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries. Progress has been made in previously exposed corruption schemes including real estate abuses in Odesa, embezzlement of funds allocated for Kyiv's improvement, corruption at Ukrzaliznytsia and state-owned bread enterprises,” Artem Sytnyk added.
In the second half of 2021, NABU and SAPO launched investigations in 297 new criminal proceedings, served suspicion notices to 82 persons (42 in the first half of 2021), and filed 35 indictments (25 in the first half of 2021) against 86 persons (43 in the first half of 2021). The economic effect of the work of both institutions amounted to UAH 850 million.
"The economic effect of NABU and SAPO work in the second half of 2021 makes almost UAH 850 million," the head of the National Bureau said.
By the end of 2021, SAPO had filed indictments against 670 persons. However, despite the qualitatively different level of court proceedings in the High Anti-Corruption Court, problems persist due to shortcomings of a purely regulatory nature.
"Loopholes in the legislation provide ample opportunities for delaying the trial by the defense. As a result, many cases are still pending and will be pending for long. At the same time, there is a huge amount of work in the courts: in six months, prosecutors secured real sentences for a dozen persons,"- said Maksym Hryshchuk, acting SAPO head.
One of the major achievements of the second half of 2021 was the launch of the eCase Management System, designed to simplify and speed up the criminal process.
"On December 16, Detectives registered the first criminal case in this system, which marked the start of digitization of the pretrial investigation with the participation of NABU, SAPO, and the HACC. By the end of the year, NABU Detectives and SAPO Prosecutors had had access to the system, while HACC judges are to get it in the first half of 2022. Another to follow will be the HACC Appeals Chamber,” the NABU Director said.
Finally, Artem Sytnyk reminded the audience of the end of his term on April 16.
"During 7 years, we have built a qualitatively new and effective pre-trial investigation agency from scratch. NABU's strength lies in its values and personnel. All this time it allowed us to withstand attacks of the corrupt system. I look confidently into the future of the National Bureau as I believe that its team is able to defend its achievements," Artem Sytnyk summed up.