HRWF (26.09.2020) – Ukraine’s whole anti-corruption infrastructure and judicial reform are now coming under attack from pro-oligarch and pro-Russian forces, according to participants of “Ukraine’s judiciary’s and anti-corruption in peril.” an online panel held by German think tank Center for Liberal Modernity on Sept. 23.
This full-frontal assault may disrupt lending from the International Monetary Fund and even lead to the suspension of the visa-free regime.
Prosecutor general fires deputy who spearheaded case against Judge Vovk (by Oleg Sukhov)
Kyiv Post (25.09.2020) – Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova fired her deputy who spearheaded the high-profile corruption case against Pavlo Vovk, the head of the Kyiv Administrative District Court and one of Ukraine’s most notoriously controversial judges, on Sept. 24.
The deputy, Andriy Lyubovych, confirmed that he was fired the same day. The Prosecutor General’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
The Kyiv Administrative District Court has gained a reputation of being one of the most corruptlegal structures in the country among the Ukrainian civil society.
Vovk denies the accusations of wrongdoing.
The Vovk case involves some of Ukraine’s most controversial and politically influential judges who are accused of obstructing justice, organized crime, and bribery, wrongdoings they deny. The country’s whole law enforcement system has faced accusations of sabotaging the case due to Vovk’s alleged political connections.
Read the full article on Kyiv Post at https://bit.ly/3cvz8mp
High Anti-Corruption Court refuses to reopen Rotterdam+ case (By Daria Shulzhenko)
Kyiv Post (24.09.2020) – The High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine refused to reopen the case of the so-called Rotterdam+ coal pricing scheme on Sept. 24.
The decision comes after the infamous case was partly suspended by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in late August. Prosecutors say they could not find enough evidence against the six main suspects — government officials and DTEK employees — and that it was impossible to establish the losses.
The August decision was later appealed by Viktor Chumak, the former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine.
But on Sept. 24, Kateryna Shyroka, the High Anti-Corruption Court judge, ruled against the reopening of the Rotterdam+ case, therefore, recognizing the decision of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s office to close the case as the investigation failed to establish evidence of the crime.
“The collected evidence of the crime is not enough. The court concluded to reject the complainant’s application and uphold the prosecutor’s decision to close the case,” Shyroka said.
The Anti-Corruption Action Center, however, disagrees with the recent decision and wants to appeal.
“We did not expect such a decision and peremptorily disagree with it,” the Anti-Corruption Action Center’s statement reads.
“Fortunately, we have hope in the Court of Appeal of the Anti-Corruption Court, where Shiroka’s decision will be appealed. We lodged a complaint as one of the applicants in the case,” their statement reads.
Read the full article at https://bit.ly/333uQje
How Akhmetov gets away with fleecing Ukraine’s state railway (by Sergii Leshchenko)
Kyiv Post (25.09.2020) – Recently, the Security Service of Ukraine, known as the SBU, held a special operation investigating allegations of corruption at the country’s biggest state enterprise, railway company Ukrzaliznytsia.
Within the investigation, the SBU searched the house of one of the suspects and found that he stored huge amounts of cash in his refrigerator, on a shelf next to lemons. In Ukraine, “lemon” is a slang term for “million.” And that’s what corruption costs Ukrzaliznytsia — many, many millions of dollars.
The investigation is only one example of the fight for cleaning up Ukrzaliznytsia. The fight has been taking place in the past several months, after the enterprise got a new chairman.
Campaign of harassment
Meanwhile, Akhmetov is running a campaign of harassment and revenge to the few public figures who dare to criticize his schemes. This summer, his TV channel sent a crew to Turkey to spy on Andriy Gerus, a lawmaker and head of the Energy Committee in the parliament, while he was on vacation.
“His TV channel dedicated several pseudo-investigative programs to me. I’ve seen five different TV crews rotating on duty next to my apartment. But it’s not going to stop my efforts to find justice — both for Ukrainians and for the state company Ukrzaliznytsia, where I’m a member of the supervisory board.
In case of Ukrzaliznytsya, we are being robbed twice. First, we aren’t getting dividends from the company for the state budget, which would pay for new roads, hospitals, and schools. At the same time, the impoverished Ukrzaliznytsia lacks the money to buy new comfortable trains or maintain the railways in a good condition to guarantee fast transportation.
Where is this money? It’s not hard to find it. Just look at Akhmetov’s latest purchase — a €200-million villa on the south coast of France.”
Read the full article on Kyiv Post at https://bit.ly/3kPhMUA
Anti-graft agency: Yanukovych’s ex-lawyer must be fired from investigative bureau (by Oleg Sukhov)
Kyiv Post (22.09.2020) – Oleksandr Babikov, the ex-lawyer of Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych, must be fired from the State Investigation Bureau to prevent a conflict of interest, Oleksandr Novikov, head of the National Agency for Preventing Corruption (NAPC), said late on Sept. 21.
The State Investigation Bureau is pursuing cases against Babikov’s former client Yanukovych, including those into the murder of dozens of EuroMaidan Revolution protesters and other crimes against them in 2013-2014. His appointment as the first deputy chief of the bureau in January triggered a flurry of indignation from civil society due to his links to Yanukovych and the potential conflict of interest that it created.
Read the full article on Kyiv Post at https://bit.ly/2RVWGrf