The Agony of “Corruption Fighters”

On August 29, 2020 a touching statement appeared on the official web page of the Office of the President of Ukraine following an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine that found the executive order of the president of April 16, 2015 to be unconstitutional. With this order, the fifth President Poroshenko appointed Artem Sytnyk, a bogged down in corruption ex-detective of the Investigations Division of the Prosecutor of Kyiv Region’s Office, to a position of a Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. Indeed, one can’t help shedding a tear while reading the following:

“Given this ruling of the Constitutional Court and the collision around the Director of the Bureau potentially losing power, we are expecting the acting director to effectively implement anti-corruption policy until the new manager is selected in a fair and transparent competition. We express our total confidence that the NABU will definitely remain a core law enforcement agency to ensure the implementation of modern anti-corruption practices and significantly improve the quality of the state anti-corruption policy. In addition, we have no doubt that in the meantime the directorate of the NABU will organize the work so as to take into account all new legal circumstances, and the operational and detective activities will not come to a halt following the refinement of the organizational structure and its harmonization with the Constitution of Ukraine.”

First off, there is no such thing as the “directorate of the NABU.” Apparently, the authors of this text confused Sytnyk’s agency with the National Anticorruption Directorate of Romania. Besides, there is also nothing strange about the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Quite on the contrary, it is obvious that not only Sytnyk’s appointment but the very existence of the NABU is unconstitutional. Much has been said and written about that in the recent 5 years. But what is interesting is that the Bankova expects, after Sytnyk lost his power as the Director of the NABU, “the acting director to effectively implement anti-corruption policy until the new manager is selected in a fair and transparent competition.” Who might this “acting director” be exactly? Might it be Gizo Uglava, a First Deputy Director of the NABU appointed by an “impostor” Sytnyk, who is also an established agent of the British intelligence?

Certainly, we are not easily surprised by foreign intelligence agents holding high offices. After all, there is no such state secret in Ukraine that cannot be bought for $100. But Uglava, much like Sytnyk, was appointed to his position in a blatant violation of law. In April of 2015, he obtained the national Ukrainian ID and, having obtained the position of the First Deputy Director of the NABU a couple of days hence, refused to apply to the Embassy of Georgia in Ukraine to renounce his Georgian citizenship. And that’s taking into account that according to Paragraph 4 of Part 1 of Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine,” a person cannot be appointed to a position at the NABU if he or she is a citizen of another country.

According to the explanation issued by the State Migration Service Ukraine in November of 2016 in response to a request by Ihor Lutsenko, a Ukrainian MP of the 8th convocation, Uglava refused to meet the legal requirements of the Laws of Ukraine “On the Citizenship of Ukraine” and “On the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine” because the duty charged by Georgia for the applications to renounce citizenship exceeded half the minimum wage in Ukraine, and this amount was an insurmountable financial burden for Uglava.

Only on June 7, 2016, after the Ministry of Justice of Georgia obtained evidence that the Georgian citizen Gizo Uglava possessed a Ukrainian national ID, the President of Georgia issued an executive order depriving Uglava of his Georgian citizenship. At that moment Uglava had been holding a post of the First Deputy Director of the NABU for over year (since April 25, 2015).

In March of 2017, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine registered a criminal proceeding regarding Uglava knowingly including misleading information in the hiring paperwork (Gizo Tristanovych wrote he was only a citizen of Ukraine). In retaliation, Sytnyk and Uglava immediately registered a counter criminal proceeding regarding interference of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in Uglava’s activities, since, you see, establishing that Uglava had been illegally appointed the First Deputy Director of the NABU gets in the way of Gizo Tristanovych’s faithfully carrying out his duties.

However, the fate of these criminal proceedings currently remains unknown. Similarly, unknown is the fate of the criminal proceeding registered regarding intentional tax evasion by the First Deputy Director of the NABU, who sold his corporate rights in a Georgian Transportir LLC in 2016 and received UAH 3 380 705 in profits, but neglected to pay UAH 608 527 in taxes to the state budget of Ukraine.

Even more so, to this date it is not known how many citizenships other than Ukrainian (and, perhaps, that of the U.K.) Uglava has. At least the word is that in 2015, Gizo Tristanovych came to Israel for a secret meeting with Eduard Stavytsky, a former Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine who’s hiding from the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine in the Promised Land, with an Israel national ID.

What we do know about a likely acting director of the NABU is that Gizo Tristanovyvh is obsessed with money. Such appetite of Uglava almost cost the fifth President Petro Poroshenko his post, as in March of 2019, precisely amid the campaign to elect the sixth president, a scandal erupted that was caused by Uglava’s participation in embezzlement of Ukroboronprom funds by Optimumspetsdetal LLC belonging to a son of Gladkovsky, a Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Gladkovsky Jr., together with his friends Vitaliy Zhukov and Andriy Rohoza, supplied overpriced smuggled pieces to military enterprises. Uglava’s part in this scheme was to sell them certificates that Optimumspetsdetal LLC was not fictitious, through a so called “undercover NABU agent” Yevhen Shevchenko (actually, Shevchenko is a driver of the most famous Ukrainian swindler Kostya Grishin, aka Grishyn, aka Gryshyn, aka Semen Semenchenko, who has been catering to Sytnyk and Uglava’s corruption schemes since 2016).

Correspondence between Zhukov and Rohoza, leaked in 2019 by Bihus.info

At that same time, in March of 2017, it turned out that the case files on embezzlement of Ukroboronprom funds by Gladkovsky’s gang, sent in March of 2017 by the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office to the NABU, had been safely hidden away at the Main Detectives Department. Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, personally registered a criminal proceeding regarding this fact and sent it to the State Bureau of Investigations. Shortly afterwards, a notice of suspicion was served to Yevhen Zavhorodniy, a NABU detective who, following the orders of Uglava and Andriy Kaluzhynskyi, a Head of the Main Detectives Department (and also a godfather of Sytnyk’s child), for two years had been hiding the case files prepared by the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office on the criminal activities of Gladkovsky Jr. and the “undercover NABU agent” Shevchenko. But after Sytnyk’s drinking buddy Ruslan Riaboshapka had become the Prosecutor General, he personally ended the criminal proceeding against the NABU officer. As for Uglava, he was punished with the full force of the law for embezzlement of Ukroboronprom funds and selling certificates that Optimumspetsdetal LLC was not fictitious. Following internal investigation, Sytnyk issued him a verbal warning.

Apparently, that’s why Artem Sergiyovych, realizing the professional and ethical level of his first deputy, decided not to pay attention to the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and refused to vacate his office lest an inveterate corrupt person leads the NABU. On August 31, 2020 the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine released a statement on its official webpage, in which it claimed that the “fact that the Presidential Decree on Appointment on the NABU Director is declared unconstitutional does not terminate the powers of the NABU Director or any other person who is appointed by the President, and does not automatically mean his dismissal.” Therefore, Sytnyk sees himself as a sitting Director of the NABU.

If Ukraine exhibited even slightest attributes of statehood, the NABU’s accounts at the State Treasury would be immediately blocked, and the city public utilities would stop supplying electricity and water to the NABU and offering sewer services. After that, officers of the Center for Special Operations A of the Security Service of Ukraine would escort Sytnyk out of his office handcuffed. But since Ukraine is not a state but rather a disputed territory, the only way to bring embezzlement of the state budget funds disguised as “fight against corruption” to an end is to dissolve NABU altogether and ban selling criminal proceedings, illegal wiretapping, and embezzlement of Ukroboronprom funds.

What makes it all the easier is the constitutional petition filed to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine by a number of MPs regarding unconstitutional nature of certain provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.” It is pretty obvious that the NABU was established contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine. It is equally obvious that it is unacceptable to tolerate this corrupt abscess with an annual budget of over UAH 1B of Ukrainian taxpayers’ money any longer.

So let’s wait until September 10, 2020, when this question is scheduled for consideration, and see if the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine dare to end this legal mess and admit the obvious, namely that the NABU had been established contrary to the constitution, and that further operation of this agency would only lead to ultimate destruction of the leftovers of the state machinery.

Володимир Бойко

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