Ukrainian anti-graft agency’s chief not elected after commission abstentions

21 December 2021, 08:56 PM

A special selection commission on Dec. 21 almost elected Oleksandr Klymenko, the former detective of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), as the new head of Ukraine’s Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO). 

 Klymenko’s appointment was supported by all non-government appointed members of the commission.

But five members that were appointed by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, rejected Klymenko’s candidacy, though they abstained rather than voting nay. This resulted in Klymenko’s candidacy failing due to a lack of votes.

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Klymenko still came first in the competition – the ex-detective scored 246 points in the vote count, while his closest rival, Andriy Syniuk, a prosecutor from the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, won 229 points.

In fact, they were both selected to join SAPO, but due to a lack of votes neither have been able to assume their positions.

The members of the commission who abstained from voting claimed that one of the candidates, presumably Klymenko, had not yet been cleared to access classified material. Thus, the head of the commission had been obligated to postpone the meeting in order to receive written confirmation of this approval.

In turn, international representatives have expressed outrage over the meeting’s postponement and the commission’s failure to approve the candidates, despite Klymenko having mathematically reached the score threshold for appointment.

A new date has been set for the commission’s next meeting, but it has not been publicly announced. The commission referred to the postponement as a “break”, however after almost 10 hours no official results were announced.

Ex-SAPO chief Nazar Kholodnytskyi resigned on Aug. 21, 2020. Maksym Hryshchuk was tapped as acting head.

In October, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine stated the United States and the European Union were “very disappointed by the incomprehensible and unjustified delays” in the election of a new head for the anti-corruption agency.

The International Monetary Fund, in its updated Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies with Ukraine, called for the election of a new head by early December 2021.

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