Ukraine has promised the IMF to elect the head of the SAPO by the end of November.

We at TI Ukraine held our breath: will this finally happen? What lasted unnecessarily long, yesterday received a “deadline” signed by the authorities: the head of the SAPO must be elected before the end of November, that is, within the next 5 days.

On the evening of November 24, the full text of the memorandum, under which Ukraine has already received USD 700 mln in financial assistance, finally appeared on the website of the International Monetary Fund. One of the key obligations set out in this document is the election of a new head of the SAPO before the specified deadline.

It is very timely that today, on November 25, the commission for the selection of the SAPO head should finally meet to evaluate the results of the practical task of candidates. The candidates completed the practical task itself almost a month ago, but so far, the commission has not held a meeting — for reasons that are not obvious.

The mention of the competition in the new agreement with the IMF, especially with a specific end date of the competition, inspires hope that the epic, which has been going on for more than a year, will finally end. In order to maintain relations with such a necessary lender for our country as the IMF, the authorities will give the green light to the end of the competition. The SAPO will get a head, and the Prosecutor General will lose the ability to directly influence the activity of the anti-corruption body.

That’s not it! The IMF obviously supports our concerns, so the memorandum contains fairly clear obligations to change the legislation on the election of the SAPO head by the end of March, improve the procedure, and give a significant role in it to independent experts with international experience.

To strengthen the independence and capacity of the institution, the Memorandum also promises to give the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office more opportunities to solve its organizational and administrative issues. In addition, the Ukrainian side promises to provide for the procedure of external audit of the SAPO by law, which should be conducted by independent experts with international experience in applying anti-corruption laws together with an audit of the work of the NABU.

This is definitely a good idea, which we have repeatedly mentioned earlier, including in the study of the capacity, management, and interaction of anti-corruption infrastructure bodies. It is worth emphasizing that changes in the legislation regarding the activity of the SAPO and its head should equate the procedural powers of the acting head of the SAPO to a full-fledged head. This is what will help protect the institution from external influences and avoid a similar situation, when several functions of the SAPO head are performed by the Prosecutor General, which is an absolutely political position in Ukraine.

Can this already be called a victory? At the moment of appointment of the new SAPO head — yes. This will be a real victory for all those who systematically fought first for the creation, and then for filling with sense a word that is not featured in the name of the SAPO — “independent.”

Therefore, we very much hope that, as planned, the commission will meet today, and nothing will prevent it from seeing this important task through the end. By the beginning of 2022, the SAPO will receive an independent and competent head and will finally be able to function in full force.

We need reforms. You can’t trade reforms for money.

From an interview with the President of Ukraine to foreign media