The first session of the new parliament lasted sixteen hours. During this time, the MPs managed to form committees, appoint the Prosecutor General, the Head of the SBU, the Prime Minister and the government and to fire former ministers, to approve limitations to MPs’ immunity in the first reading and to submit a number of draft laws together with the President.

The initiatives most relevant to our work include:

  • beginning of work of the High Anti-Corruption Court;
  • the President’s authority to appoint the NABU director (through amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine);
  • protection of whistleblowers (by amending the Law “On Corruption Prevention”)
  • ensuring an effective institutional mechanism of corruption prevention;
  • optimization of activity of judicial governance agencies);
  • confiscation of illegally obtained assets and punishment for illicit enrichment;
  • amendments to the law on procurement;
  • passage of the law on the lease of national and municipal property.

Currently, the team of Transparency International Ukraine is already analyzing these documents to answer the following questions:

  • What will change after these draft laws are passed?
  • What are the pros and cons of the changes?
  • What are the potential risks?

Sadly, the first day in the Parliament was not just positive. Even with new MPs and the new political season, some “seasoned” faces remain. Arsen Avakov kept his position as the Minister of Internal Affairs, despite all the scandals during his five years in office.

Ahead of the first day of the Parliament,

activists gathered outside the Presidential Office demanding that Zelenskyy not appoint Avakov to the new Cabinet. And to keep him from political office in general. What are some of his “achievements”?

✓ The incomplete reform of the National Police, which left most of old staff remaining in positions. In 2018, there were 132,000 police officers, with only 18,000 “new” ones. The professional review was rather declarative than real, because out of 4700 people who were fired, 3100 later got their positions back. One of them is suspected of killing a child. The police officer was among those dismissed in 2015 who later got their jobs back in court. The system is still full of incompetent staff who lose evidence, confuse suspects and stall pre-trial investigation.

✓ The inaction of the law enforcement when it comes to attacks against activists and their deaths. The Ministry sabotaged the investigation of the murder of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk. Silencing and stalling cases is still a common practice.

✓ Corruption-related scandals and flawed procurement practices. One such story was when the DOZORRO team claimed that the procurement procedure of Mitsubishi Outlander vehicles for the police was illegal. Another major case was “Avakov’s backpacks,” later closed. Then, the Ministry commissioned 5,000 of backpacks paying the outrageous amount of UAH 14.5 million. Later journalists found out that those backpacks were purchased from companies controlled by Avakov.

One of these scandals would arleady be enough to have a minister resign in Western Europe. Not in Ukraine yet, apparently.

For reference:

Transparency International Ukraine (TI Ukraine) is an accredited chapter of the global movement Transparency International, taking a comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of reforms to reduce corruption. TI Ukraine has administered and provided the government such electronic systems as ProZorro, ProZorro.Sale, eHealth, and E-Data. Our other ongoing projects include the Transparent Cities Ranking and development of the DOZORRO community for control over public procurement.

The first session of the new parliament lasted sixteen hours. During this time, the MPs managed to form committees, appoint the Prosecutor General, the Head of the SBU, the Prime Minister and the government and to fire former ministers, to approve limitations to MPs’ immunity in the first reading and to submit a number of draft laws together with the President.