race to power

The government did not keep its promises to set up a lustration committee and an anti-corruption bureau

The government did not keep its promises to set up a lustration committee and an anti-corruption bureau
Photo: Ukrainian photo

Exactly four months ago, on February 27, the Verkhovna Rada appointed Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government, which was formed based on the coalition principle by the oppositional factions and representatives of the protesters. But over the period that followed many representatives of the Maidan did not obtain their promised offices.

Pro bono publico

On the eve of appointment of the Cabinet its composition was agreed at the People’s Meeting. From the Maidan the government received its ministers of the humanitarian bloc, heads of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the first vice premier. It was also decided then that the Maidan’s quota would also include the lustration committee and the anti-corruption bureau, which the new government promised to create in the near future. Four months later, Yehor Sobolev, who was appointed Chair of the Lustration Committee by default, spoke of the government’s failure to keep its promises. “Speaking of the promise of the current coalition to create a lustration committee – it betrayed all of us,” said Sobolev in an interview to Obozrevatel.

Sobolev says the activists proposed to the Cabinet three options for creation of the committee, but none of them had been implemented. The same fate befell the Law On Lustration.

Currently, the lustration committee exists in the form of a non-government organization trying to put lustration into practice using its own methods. With the support of the self-defense units from the Maidan, activists led by Sobolev prevented the election of a number of judges of higher courts, who, according to the lustration committee, were associated with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

At the same time, MP Serhiy Kaplin (UDAR), who registered one of the draft laws on lustration in the parliament, termed the methods of Sobolev’s group as “lustration insurgency” in an interview for Capital.

Formation of the anti-corruption bureau has not progressed beyond statements. Still, journalist and Maidan’s activist Tetyana Chornovol, who was supposed to head the agency, was appointed government commissioner for anti-corruption policy on March 5. Serving in this office Chornovol complains about the lack of authority and the Cabinet’s attempts to ignore her. In particular, among her competences is the checkup of candidates for positions in the civil service for involvement in corrupt practices. But this procedure is not always observed. For example, in early June the head of the State Service for Medications Mykhailo Pasechnik was appointed bypassing the inspection of Chornovol.

“I have no instruments except for providing information. This position was created in the government of Tymoshenko, but in the times of Azarov its authorities were transferred to the Ministry of Justice. All my initiatives enter this ministry and disappear,” complained Chornovol in a conversation with Capital.

Dazed and confused Rada

The issue of creation of the anti-corruption bureau has been removed from the parliament’s agenda. Head of the VR Committee for Fighting Corruption and Organized Crime Viktor Chumak (UDAR) blames the Cabinet officials and members of the pro-government coalition for this situation. “Most politicians and officials will not pass the inspection by such bodies, which means they will be left unemployed,” said Chumak. He stated that there are several similar bills on the anti-corruption bureau in the parliament, which complicates the procedure for putting them up to vote. Chumak, who is the author one of the bills, says the document drafted by Chornovol poses an obstacle to the successful vote. Meanwhile, Chornovol told Capital that she had a pre-emptive right in proposing legislative initiatives. “They lobbied their document because of the grant, which was allocated for it,” Chornovol accused her rivals in the parliament.

MP Yuriy Syrotyuk (Svoboda) says that at the moment the pro-government coalition has no consensus on the draft laws on the lustration committee and the anti-corruption bureau. “Therefore we do not have enough votes even to introduce the lustration bill drafted by Svoboda to the agenda,” he said in a conversation with Capital. MP Volodymyr Yavorivskiy (Batkivshchyna) said that not only the lack of unity inside the coalition was causing this situation, but also the indecisiveness of the Cabinet. “There are people in the coalition who neither want to vote for these laws, nor even put them up for discussion. In the government there are also people afraid to implement radical changes,” said Yavorivskiy.

Capital could not get a comment from Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk. His spokeswoman Olga Lappo never provided the newspaper with the promised response from the head of the government.

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