Lull time for Ukrainian corruptionists: Who to investigate cases of top officials

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

Why Prosecutor General's Office cannot conduct investigation until 2019 and what are the possible consequences of it?
16:39, 20 November 2017

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The Prosecutor General's Office has lost the right to investigate crimes committed by ex-presidents, senior government officials, members of the Central Electoral Commission, Verkhovna Rada deputies, the leadership of the Prosecutor General's Office, the head of the National Bank, judges, and law enforcers. The Prosecutor's Office had the right to investigate crimes under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), no longer than 5 years from the day the new Criminal Code entered into force (November 19, 2012). People's deputies could change the situation, however, on Thursday, November 16, they refused even to include the draft law on the extension of pre-trial investigation into their agenda.

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Thus, thousands of criminal cases will at least be temporarily transferred for investigation to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which, of course, does not have the staff to investigate such a number of criminal cases. In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code adopted in 2012, during 5 years the Prosecutor General's Office was to be deprived of investigative functions and to hand them over to the State Bureau of Investigation. However, since 2015, State Bureau itself when the government decided to establish it as a legal entity, exists exclusively on paper. November 16, the chairman of the bureau and his deputies were elected. Deputies and General Prosecutor Lutsenko believe that the bureau will be able to work only by the end of 2018.

In connection with the absence of the SBI, the parliament has already extended the GPU's ability to conduct an investigation. Thus, the parliament already gave the Prosecutor General's Office the opportunity to continue work on the affairs of Maidan. November 10, a bill was registered by a group of people's deputies, which proposed to extend the investigation period for old and new cases for the General Prosecutor's Office until 2019.

At the morning meeting on Thursday, the deputies did not even include the bill on the agenda. But there were no enough votes. Most of the deputies of the opposition factions opposed this. The initiative of MPs from coalition factions did not meet with unanimity.

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Rada did not agree to prolong the investigation period for the Prosecutor General's Office. Sources of in the coalition factions - opponents of preserving the investigation of the GPU - criticize the work of the head of the department Yuriy Lutsenko.

They also criticize the GPU in connection with the lack of response to the "unlawful actions of NABU detectives against certain people's deputies." The loudest case of NABU against pro-government deputies was the exposure of Boryslav Rosenblat and Maksym Polyakov and their "amber business."

Refusal to retain the investigative functions of the Prosecutor General's Office prior to the establishment of the State Bureau of Investigations will negatively affect the investigation of cases, since a large part of them will be transferred to NABU, which does not have sufficient staff to investigate such a number of criminal proceedings. According to the assessment of NABU, after November 20 about 3.5 thousand cases will be transferred to investigation.

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Another unofficial motive for such actions of the parliamentarians is the discrediting of the National Olympic Committee.

So, from now on, the Prosecutor General's Office will be deprived of the right to open new criminal proceedings. According to the head of the special investigation department of the GPU, Serhiy Gorbatyuk, if a crime is detected, only the SBI can register it, which, as noted above, exists only on paper.

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In turn, the head of the committee on anti-corruption Yehor Sobolev notes that the failure of this bill will lead to the fact that "NABU will choke on the number of criminal cases." NABU also notes that after November 20, the bureau will be forced to stop the work "over current production against top corrupt officials."

For his part, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko noted that investigators of the National Security Service, the National Police and the Security Service will investigate the matter.

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