Prosecutor-General’s Office is requested to verify the legitimacy of choosing civic representatives to the NAPC Selection Panel

The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Prevention and Combating Corruption requested the Prosecutor-General's Office of Ukraine to verify the NGOs' meeting legitimacy to voting civic representatives to the Selection Panel to pick member candidates for the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC). The meeting was held on 17 May and chaired by Mr. Roman Hreba, Deputy Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

On 17 June, the Parliamentary Committee, headed by Mr. Yehor Soboliev, reviewed the findings of special investigation of the meeting of anti-corruption non-governmental organizations organized and conducted by the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers. Mr. Serhii Leshchenko, MP and Committee member, presented the perusal results of NGO-submitted documents to be eligible for meeting participation.
According to him, only 20 organizations presented documents that verified their experience in the area of combatting corruption, notwithstanding the Cabinet of Ministers registered 51 NGOs in total. This implies that 31 NGOs submitted quite dubious evidence about their experience in anti-corruption activities; very often those were confirmation letters issued to one another speaking in support of their representatives attending some anti-corruption events. Sometimes, such confirmations were bilateral (it means that organization A "confirmed" anti-corruption experience of organization B, while the latter confirmed such kind of experience in the former).

Some small groups of NGOs that took part in the meeting used similar wording and description of their performance and activities that they contributed to.

In accordance with Article 5 of the Law "On Preventing Corruption", four members of the Selection Panel are to be elected by the NGOs that have relevant experience of anti-corruption activities. Pursuant to the Regulations on Competition approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, a candidate organization is to have at least one year of experience. Therefore, without getting into a great detail, the authorized official could admit only 20 out of 51 organizations to partaking in the meeting out of the formal reasons. Indeed, other NGOs just failed to prove their one-year anti-corruption experience.

In his turn, Mr. Yehor Soboliev pointed out that at least 10 NGOs had the same registration address and the same leadership. These 31 NGOs did not propose their own candidates – they just went to vote for some persons in a ballot. To do it, they made their way from Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv oblast, and the occupied Luhansk. As a result, four winners of civic elections received 120 to 140 points each. And the candidate number 5 (runner-up) received just half of the score of candidate number 4. All other candidates (14 persons) received not more than 10 points each.
According to the MPs, the meeting featured a conspiracy of NGOs that simultaneously voted for winners who had been hand-picked and agreed beforehand. The Parliamentary Committee maintains that the Deputy Minister Roman Hreba, who is commissioned by the Government and the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, is liable for the violation of the Law "On Preventing Corruption". The Law clearly stipulates that four members of the Selection Panel are to be suggested by NGOs, "that carry at least one year of experience in the area of combatting corruption". It was the Deputy Minister, who had to verify and confirm the availability and relevance of this experience, while instead he started to insist that he had not been entitled to verify the documents certifying the experience, having just to make sure that the documents were available.

Therefore, the Anti-corruption Committee decided to request the Prosecutor-General to investigate this case and find out whether there was a conspiracy in the activities of NGOs and state officials. In addition, it was also decided to additionally request the Prime Minister Arsenii Yatseniuk to take ownership over the election of members of the NAPC and swiftly arrange re-elections of non-governmental participants of the Selection Panel. According to the Committee, it will help the Prime Minister to restore trust of Ukrainians and international partners to the Government as an authority directly responsible for setting up and proper launch of independent agency for combatting corruption. Otherwise, the Cabinet of Ministers is at risk of exploding legitimacy of the specialized anti-corruption body and scuttling agreement on visa free regime between Ukraine and the European Union.

It should be noted that a number of anti-corruption NGOs, including the Reanimation Package of Reforms initiative, Transparency International Ukraine, Centre for Combatting Corruption, Centre of Political Studies and Analysis blamed the Government for direct violation of the Law "On Preventing Corruption." TI Ukraine brought two lawsuits against the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for grave violation of anti-corruption legislation when arranging a composition of the Selection Panel for picking membership on the NAPC. At the same time, TI Ukraine Board decided not to propose the candidature of Executive Director Oleksii Khmara to the Selection Panel in order to avoid ill-founded accusations in having a personal interest.

Please, see infographics for more detailed analysis of NGOs that elected participants of the Selection Panel for picking candidates for membership on the NAPC.

For more information, please, contact Tetiana Kyrylenko, 050 97 93 596, and Andrii Andrushkiv, 096 609 59 76.