It’s hard to believe, but the commission conducted 12 interviews with candidates for the future head of the Bureau of Economic Security in just one day. The three finalists have also been chosen, among which Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will choose the winner. It includes Vadym Melnyk, the current head of the State Fiscal Service, prosecutor Attila Kovchi, and Vasyl Horbal. Yes, the very same Vasyl Horbal.
If to recall, for example, the competition for the selection of the SAPO head, which began last year and has not yet ended, such speed on the part of the commission seems either a miracle, or incredible hard work, or it means that the need for the BES head is much greater than that for the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
But let’s not talk about the painful matter. Let us consider the golden trio.
Vadym Melnyk, head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.
There are many questions to this candidate, starting with the declaration. In particular, we are talking about various forms of profit, receiving gifts worth more than 50 subsistence minimums, purchasing new luxury cars every year, and having numerous apartments, the cost of which can be significantly underestimated.
These facts may indicate dishonest behavior on the part of the applicant for the position. However, Melnyk’s property was not discussed during the interview, although Tymofii Mylovanov had other questions for the candidate.
For example, the chair of the commission mentioned the fact that Melnyk was quite often featured in the media. The head of the State Fiscal Service explained that this was done intentionally because he declared openness and a desire to help the “white” business and hit the shadow one. The candidate noted his openness to criticism and objective reaction to negative phenomena, and he called negative publications in the media fake and provocative.
Melnyk explained the materials available in the media regarding the candidate’s ties with Oleh Tatarov by saying that they had known each other for a long time; however, both earlier and now, they have had purely business relations: “I have known Oleh Tatarov for a long time, being the deputy head of the Main Investigation Department of Ukraine. I have known him since the new Criminal Procedural Code was written in 2012. We had a purely business relationship. I know him as a good specialist in criminal proceedings.”
The reason the State Fiscal Service puts pressure on business, Melnyk explained as follows: “The law enforcement model doesn’t work any other way. We are granted the right to take a search permit. The courts give us such permits, and we do our job. If we had more opportunities for serious analytics, such actions would be extremely reduced. We will see where we can get the necessary documents because the search is done for this very purpose.”
As for me, this answer really explains a lot.
Attila Kovchi, prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The candidate explained the purpose of the BES work rather unconventionally and emphasized that the manager should base their decisions on resource allocation not upon their prejudices or experience, but solely on risks and the way to minimize them. He stressed that priority should be given to criminal analysis.
When asked about ways to ensure transparency of BES, the ex-prosecutor answered that he considered this issue critical. He intends to ensure transparency of the body by making all decisions public so that everyone could get acquainted and understand what the institution is doing. He plans to schedule regular meetings with major business associations and the Public Control Council at least once a month. The candidate plans to report on the results of the work once a week.
There were some questions to Kovcha about his property, but today this topic has not been raised by the commission at all, and the candidate was no exception. Yes, and violations in his declarations are quite insignificant, compared to questions to the other candidates from the trio.
Vasyl Horbal, member of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine.
This candidate does not need an introduction, but still, let me remind you. Since 2005, Horbal has been a member of the Party of Regions, an MP of the Verkhovna Rada of 4-6 convocations, first, from the faction “For United Ukraine,” and then for the regionals. In 2004, Horbal was actively involved in the election campaign of Yanukovych.
Could we have imagined that such a candidate could be recommended for the post of head of the Bureau of Economic Security? Turns out, it is possible!
To the already traditional question from Mylovanov about the main goal of creating BES, the candidate highlighted reducing pressure on business and the number of economic crimes. In addition, there is the issue of what the candidate did to the Ukrgasbank… The candidate also stressed that much was being said about the fact that the State Fiscal Service should not just change the sign; he is ready to do it. What kind of sign he plans to hang on the BES, however, was neither covered.
In general, it is difficult to evaluate these three persons, simply because it is difficult to imagine how any of these three will lead a new institution, which has already given rise to so many hopes.
All the more questions arise about the entire competition process also because of how quickly it took place. It appears that the Ukrainian bureaucracy has never known such a quick special check before.
The intrigue in the BES contest “continues.” Who will the prime minister choose?