On March 17 and 18, the long-awaited competition for the management of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office entered an active phase. This was when the candidates were tested for knowledge of the law and general skills.
Summarizing the results, the competition commission formed two ranking lists of participants who successfully passed the exams. The first list consists of candidates for the position of Head and Deputy Head of SAPO, the second — candidates for the position of the head of a department.
Why is this competition even significant?
The SAPO is a crucial element of the anti-corruption triangle NABU-SAPO-HACC. Therefore, its head will face the issue of ensuring the agency’s stable, effective, and independent work.
The public has repeatedly called for transparent competition. For example, in the study of capacity, management, and interaction of agencies that make up Ukraine’s anti-corruption infrastructure, Transparency International Ukraine has recommended that public authorities ensure transparent, independent, and politically impartial selection of candidates for the position of Head of SAPO.
It should be noted that a prosecutor should be not just a qualified lawyer but also a skilled tactician, strategist, and manager.
Last year, on August 21, the Head of SAPO, Nazar Kholodnytskyi, resigned from Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. All this time, acting head Maksym Hryshchuk has been performing the duties, but his powers are limited due to legislative restrictions. However, the requirement of electing new prosecutors for SAPO remained unmet for more than six months. Finally, only in mid-March 2021, the first stage of the competition was launched.
Firstly, candidates were tested for knowledge of the law with a passing score of 80 out of 100, and then they took a test for general skills that reduced the number of applicants more significantly. The selection commission justified such quick testing by convenience for the candidates who came from different cities so that they would be less endangered on public transport under the lockdown.
It was noteworthy that not all candidates accepted that reasoning. Some of them considered such a short interval between tests a violation of the right to prepare for the general skills test.
In any case, on the evening of March 18, the commission published the complete list of all those admitted to the interview. So, let’s take a closer look at the candidates.
We remind you that the first list consists of candidates for the position of Head and Deputy Head of SAPO. According to the results, 37 moved forward in the competition. Among all the candidates, Olena Krolovetska, the Head of the Investigative Unit at the NABU, received a record number of points for two tests — 232.
The result seems even more interesting when we consider that, in general, only three women were able to pass the testing successfully. The remaining 49 candidates are men.
Based on the results of tests for knowledge of the law and general skills, the top three candidates
- for the position of Head and Deputy Head of SAPO are:
- Olena Krolovetska (232 points)
- Oleksandr Formagei and Vitalii Kravets (230 points)
- Sviatoslav Pikul (229 points)
- for the position of the head of a department:
- Sviatoslav Pikul (229 points) (he applied for all the positions)
- Andrii Legin (21 points)
- Kostiantyn Petrenko (217) points
It is also worth mentioning the extensive work experience of participants. The candidates’ total legal experience from the first list accounts for 629 years, so, on average, every candidate has 17 years of work experience. Candidates from the second list worked 225 years in total, that is 15 years of experience per candidate. The most experienced candidate has 39 years of legal experience, and the least professional experience is nine years. In general, quite a lot, isn’t it?
Most of the candidates (17 from the first list and 9 from the second, respectively) are representatives of prosecution. There are candidates from the NABU (10 and 3), and eight candidates work in SAPO (6 and 2). Furthermore, there are also candidates from the Verkhovna Rada and the corporate sector.
All these people have moved on to the next stage of the competition. Further, the candidates will be interviewed by the selection commission, and there will be practical questions to answer. The potential Head and Deputy Head of SAPO will also have to take a lie detector test.
The article was co-authored by Serhii Kurinnyi, legal advisor at Transparency International Ukraine.
Translated by Daria Ivashkevych