On August 20, the Cabinet of Ministers appointed the first director of the Bureau of Economic Security by its order. Their choice is Vadym Melnyk, who heads the State Fiscal Service.  

TI Ukraine believes that such an appointment and the very course of the competition contradict the general idea of creating BES.

The Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine (BES) was conceived as a body that should create a new level of trust between business and the state, as well as lay the foundations for new standards for countering offenses that interfere with the state economy. Is it possible to achieve such ambitious goals if the first director of the newly created body is questionable in terms of integrity, professional and moral and ethical qualities? 

There were two main reasons for creating the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine. The first is the Ukrainian problems in the tax police, the NPU, the SBU, which previously “dealt” with economic violations. Pressure and blocking of the work of enterprises, corrupt transactions very often “went hand in hand” in the work of these bodies with business, which was emphasized by entrepreneurs, lawyers, experts, and even prosecutor’s officeThe second reason — our country’s obligations before the International Monetary Fund regarding the consolidation of powers to investigate economic crimes into a single investigative body.

Although the commission for the selection of the director of the Bureau was able to decide on the winners in a very short time, the topics of integrity and professionalism stated in the competition rules were almost not raised during the interview stage. Therefore, to all three finalists recommended for consideration by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the public had questions about integrity and doubts about the possibility of abandoning the “old habits” and building a new body of high quality. However, during the interviews, the commission members did not ask the candidates such questions.

For example, the newly appointed Vadym Melnyk was not asked about his “failures” as the leader of the State Fiscal Service. In particular, the interview did not raise the topic of shadow markets for fuel, alcohol, imitation of the fight against conversion centers, which MPs accused Melnyk of. The commission didn’t ask him why he was constantly criticized by the specialized committee of the Verkhovna Rada. Nor did the members ask about his inconsistencies in the declarations, in particular, how in 2016 he managed to buy an apartment of 74 m2 in Irpin for only USD 10,500. 

Thus, the competition for the election of the Bureau of Economic Security’s director has shown that Ukrainian officials are not ready to honestly and independently elect the heads of bodies, and the work of the BES will begin with no confidence in its head. 

When organizing selections for senior positions in government agencies, the engagement of independent experts in commissions creates a system of checks and balances that allows to choose a truly qualified and virtuous candidate. Therefore, when preparing such competitions, positive practices of previous selections are a must. 

Although the commission for the selection of the director of the Bureau was able to decide on the winners in a very short time, the topics of integrity and professionalism stated in the competition rules were almost not raised during the interview stage.