Competition commission for anti-corruption body approves decision to appoint new chief

19 July, 07:33 PM
Oleksandr Klymenko (Photo:Channel 5)

Oleksandr Klymenko (Photo:Channel 5)

The competition commission for the position of head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) has submitted a decision to ap-point Oleksandr Klymenko as the new chief of the agency, according to minutes of a corresponding meeting published on July 19.

Klymenko is a NABU detective known for investigating the case of Oleh Tatarov, the deputy chief-of-staff of the Office of the President, who was tied to bribery allegations.

However, the competition for the selection of the head has not ended and this decision does not represent an official appointment, stressed the chairman of the board of the Anti-Corruption Action Center NGO, Vitaliy Shabunin.

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"Indeed, the commission approved the formal decision on Klymenko's winning the competition, but the head is appointed by the Prosecutor General herself or her deputy,” Shabunin wrote on Telegram.

“It is possible that while the Prosecutor General's Office drags on with confirmation for no apparent reason, an appeal decision regarding the cancellation of the competition procedure will also appear. [The President's Office] may use this in the future to disrupt the appointment process."

The previous head, Nazar Kholodnytskyi, resigned from the position of head of the SAPO on August 21, 2020. Following his resignation, the agency has been temporarily headed by Maksym Hryshchuk.

An updated memorandum of economic and financial policy published by the International Monetary Fund provided for the selection of a new head of the SAPO by December 2021.

The commission determined on December 21 that the winner of the competition for the position of the head of the SAPO would be NABU detective Oleksandr Klymenko. He received 246 points in favor of the position of head of the SAPO, while a prosecutor from the Prosecutor General's Office, Andriy Synyuk, received 229 points. At the same time, the pro-government part of the commission refused to vote for this decision.

The Competition Commission was again unable to approve the head of the SAPO due to the lack of a quorum on February 3, 2022.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated in an address on July 17 the need to appoint a new specialized anti-corruption prosecutor as per the competition that has already been held, as well as hold a competition for the head of the NABU.

Ukraine’s international partners have long demanded a new SAPO head be appointed, given that the lack of one is stymieing progress on important anti-corruption cases.

For half a year, the Prosector-General’s Office has not responded to these requests, causing some civil society observers to fear that now that the PGO is run by a person close to Tatarov – Oleksii Symonenko – Klymenko will never take his post.

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