«If the President made it clear to members of his party that he wants the trial to proceed the way it is supposed to, there wouldn’t be any questions for him,» noted the head of Transparency International Ukraine.
Yevheniia Honcharuk: Do you believe that the trial will progress today? Lawyers say that the detention period is expiring.
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn: Actually, nothing is preventing the court from continuing to investigate this case. Today, there are no obstacles to a trial. The judge told representatives of the ‘National Corps’ – who visited her home yesterday to ask about the reasons for the delay – that she would be in the workplace the next day to make all the necessary decisions, like a good employee.
Will the trial be easy? No. We understand the state of the justice system and the fact that there are only two judges in the Solomianskyi District Court that can oversee this case. Some believed that another court with appropriately qualified judges should review the case. However, with both Chaus and Onyshchenko fleeing the country, this has taught us that every procedural step should be supervised.
Anastasia Bahalika: How long will it take for the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to investigate the case after the preventive measure is chosen?
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn: According to the preliminary assessment of SAP prosecutors it usually takes two months. The case is rather difficult, so the term is justified. The problem is, this time may be used to destroy evidence. That is why the Government made the important decision to suspend Nasirov. We know that in a similar case, the Military Prosecutor’s Office did not suspend the Anti-Terrorist Operation prosecutor Kulyk and there are facts that he considerably influenced the investigative measures.
We expect that if the case starts soon, the prosecution will be ready to begin by May. It is probably a good idea not to rush the matter. We understand that it is hard to prove criminal offences and to gather the real facts.
If our goal is justice, not reprisal, we need to be patient. However, for the trial to start, a decision regarding preventive measures which makes it impossible for the accused to run away should be made.
Anastasia Bahalika: What will happen if the judge chooses bail as a preventive measure? The number could be unprecedented (2 billion hryvnias).
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn: On the one hand, bail depends on the damages caused. It is clear that the number is appropriate for crime the accused is charged with. On the other hand, if the suspect lacks the money, bail can be paid by the actual value of his or her possessions. Nasirov is not a poor person (he owns an apartment in London), so it is possible for the court to choose bail. It can be an effective safety measure, although there are no guarantees.
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn: Given the institution that he was in charge of, any cases linked to taxes, tax evasion and smuggling (as the State Fiscal Service controls customs) can use the knowledge held by Nasirov.
Yevhenia Honcharuk: How do you assess the reaction and actions of the president?
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn: At first, I was delighted to hear him say that NABU is an independent body and that we should let it work. At the same time, representatives of his bloc showed up in a hospital and stated that they were there to ensure that procedural actions were conducted in accordance with law.
If the president made it clear to his party that he wants the trial to proceed the way it is supposed to, there would not be any questions for him.
Sadly, there was no such statement. It is ironic how members of his own political party get in the way of a public body that the president created. Of course, we want a process free from political statements by the Government, the President or Parliament about this case. We fought for the investigation and courts to be independent from each other. Sadly, the courts cannot display the same level of independence as the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office or the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. We hope that the President will clearly condemn the external pressure on the investigation, and encourage the lawful trial and achievement of acceptable results as soon as possible.
It should be noted that the Government dismissed Nasirov (the head of the State Fiscal Service) for the duration of the investigation.
After NABU detectives told Roman Nasirov that he is a suspect, the doctors moved him from one hospital building to another. They told ‘Radio Liberty’ that they had diagnosed a myocardial infarction.
Roman Nasirov is suspected of stealing more than two billion hryvnia of public funds.