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The new SAPO head: how Bankova can play over the results of the competition

Oleksandr Klymenko wasn't appointed Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor. Photo: collage by The Page

Oleksandr Klymenko wasn't appointed Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor. Photo: collage by The Page

Although the competition commission for choosing the SAPO head in Ukraine approved Oleksandr Klymenko as the winner of the competition on July 19, the decision to appoint him has not been issued.

Why can the appointment be now delayed indefinitely, although it was one of the key demands of the EU after Ukraine was granted candidate status to unblock the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and also the reform?


How the process of submitting the candidate is being delayed

The appointment of the SAPO head could be delayed for years. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

The appointment of the SAPO head could be delayed for years. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

The decision of the commission was Ukraine’s important step toward European integration, stressed Nona Tsotsoriia, a member of the competition commission.

Quote"At last we’ve made it to the end," cites DW the commission member and former ECHR judge.

At the same time, Mykhailo Zhernakov, Chair of the Board of DEJURE Foundation, advises to hold off celebrating.

He explained that head of the Commission Kateryna Koval will be able to officially submit Kymenko’s appointment for approval by the acting Prosecutor General only after… the General Prosecutor's Office confirms that the candidate has access to state secrecy and conforms to the law on lustration.

Quote"We could be waiting for the confirmation for years. It’s one of the dragging out schemes described by our colleagues from the Anti-Corruption Action Center several months ago. To say nothing of the fact that we have no permanent Prosecutor General," he wrote.

In his commentary for DW, Zhernakov assumed that the appointment could actually be dragged out for years since the General Prosecutor’s Office is controlled by Oleh Tatarov, who once was a figure in a case investigated by Klymenko (it concerned the provision of apartments to members of the National Guard).

He pointed out that all candidates for Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor have already passed the necessary special checks during the competition, and now, during martial law, such checks are not mandatory.

A lapdog Prosecutor General without a SAPO head

The President's Office would be happy to have a lapdog Prosecutor General and no SAPO head — human rights activists. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

The President's Office would be happy to have a lapdog Prosecutor General and no SAPO head — human rights activists. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

A similar thought was expressed by Deputy Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine Kateryna Ryzhenko.

In her commentary for DW, she stressed that in the President’s Office, they don’t want to have a SAPO head at all, being happy with their "lapdog" Prosecutor General, while acting Prosecutor General Oleksii Symonenko has already reassigned the case of Tatarov from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine to the Security Service of Ukraine in order to be able to "bury" it.

Quote"Zelenskyy/Yermak are further blocking the appointment of the SAPO head. The meeting of the committee has changed nothing," stated Board Director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Vitalii Shabunin in his Facebook post.

According to him, before July 19, the excuse used by the Bankova Street President’s Office was the commission’s failure to approve a decision, and now it will be its failure to submit the decision to the Prosecutor General.

Quote"All this is happening after Zelenskyy had said to the whole country that he demanded the winner of the competition to be appointed immediately. It’s obviously very, very hard to believe the President’s word, to say the least," Shabunin wrote.

"All this is happening after Zelenskyy had said to the whole country that he demanded the winner of the competition to be appointed immediately. It’s obviously very, very hard to believe the President’s word, to say the least," Shabunin wrote.

It’s the Prosecutor General or acting Prosecutor General (currently Oleksii Symonenko) who appoints the SAPO head, so it’s now the President’s Office which is responsible for the dragging out, writes Deputy Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Olena Shcherban in her editorial for Ukrainska Pravda.

There’s a problem with submitting the appointment of the candidate to the General Prosecutor’s Office: formally, the commission has three days to do it, but only after it’s authorized by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Quote"While the commission has a deadline, the General Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t," she noted.

The competition can be declared invalid by a court

The court can still play over the results of the competition. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

The court can still play over the results of the competition. Photo: facebook.com/sap.gov.ua

In Shcherban’s opinion, the authorization can be delayed as long as until the cancellation of the competition procedure by a court of appeal. The Page already wrote that in December 2021, the Kyiv District Administrative Court declared the procedure of work of the competition commission and the competition itself invalid.

The case was due to be considered by July 18, however, there’s no information about the decision yet. If the court of appeal declares the competition invalid, it would have to be held again.

Shcherban adds that there’s also pressure exerted on the commission to replace one of its members, Drago Kos, who is also a member of the commission for the selection of the NABY director.

Quote"It seems that, according to Bankova’s plan, if Drago Los leaves the SAPO commission, then Tatarov’s minion Symonenko will promote another lapdog as a member of the commission from the Council of Prosecutors," the lawyer thinks.

In her opinion, this will help Bankova play over the competition and change the SAPO head.

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