Nov 19, 2020
The Kyiv Post reported, “The High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine has overturned its first-ever conviction of an official for graft after the country’s Constitutional Court struck down key pillars of Ukraine’s anti-corruption legislation. The decision to throw the conviction out represents a major blow to Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts.
In 2019, the High Anti-Corruption Court found a retired judge guilty of failing to declare her 2015 income in accordance with the law. According to the Anti-Corruption Action Center nonprofit, the individual in question was Nadezhda Posunsya, an appeals court judge in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. The conviction marked the court’s first ruling since it was established in September 2019. Posunsya was reportedly fined nearly $2,000.
Then, on Oct. 28, the Constitutional Court ruled that Ukraine’s asset declaration system for government officials was unconstitutional. It also cancelled the penalty for officials who lie in their declarations.
The court’s ruling stripped the National Agency for Preventing Corruption of its main powers for verifying declarations to flag possible illegal activity for investigation. However, the government ordered the agency to temporarily ignore the ruling and maintain its open database of asset declarations.
Still, the decision threatens to wash away virtually all of Ukraine’s progress in anti-corruption since 2014, when the EuroMaidan Revolution ousted corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych and brought a pro-Western government to power.
Because anti-corruption reform is a key pillar for international aid and cooperation, the Constitutional Court decision also threatens Ukraine’s visa-free regime with the European Union and future loans from the International Monetary Fund.
It also could directly derail numerous corruption cases – including against top politicians and judges. On Nov. 18, the High Anti-Corruption Court closed an investigation into Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, accused of abuse of power and persecuting local activists. Earlier, on Nov. 9, an investigation into the declaration of one of the Constitutional Court’s judges, Volodymyr Moisyk, and a probe into court chairperson Oleksandr Tupytsky, suspected of filing false income and asset declarations, was also shut down due to the ruling.”