During July 18-22, interviews were held with ten candidates for the managerial position of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency. Earlier, we analyzed all candidates for integrity. During the interviews, some members of the commission mentioned what we had emphasized earlier.

What does the situation look like?

Three out of ten candidates — Oleksandr Vizhunov, Vitalii Vlasiuk, and Oleh Rybka — refused to participate further. But the other seven presented their experience and vision of the leadership of ARMA. Some were too creative and added illustrations, some presented dozens of slides, such as Dmytro Zhoravovych, the interim acting Head of the ARMA.

There were also noticeable problems in the expertise and integrity of the candidates. For example, attorney Yurii Martyniuk superficially navigated the legislation and did not answer the relevant questions correctly. Similarly, Oleksandr Rudenko, attorney, head of the Legal Association “RO LEKS,” incorrectly explained how to account for property received under the contract from the ARMA.

Another candidate, Volodymyr Pavlenko, former deputy head of the ARMA, is involved in a criminal case — during the interview, he said that he had not violated the law. And Iryna Humeniuk, Head of the Central Interregional Territorial Administration of the ARMA, could not explain why she had turned a blind eye to interference with the Unified Automated Case Distribution System when working at the Supreme Economic Court.

In addition, members of the commission had questions about the income of the current acting Head of the ARMA Dmytro Zhoravovych. In the last months of 2021, he received a salary in this position of more than UAH 400,000. The candidate explained that that amount allegedly included assistance for solving social and domestic issues, which he could not refuse. Although in order to receive such assistance, he would have to first submit a request. 

There were questions about the work of the ARMA after February 24. Zhoravovych noted that, together with the senior leadership of the ARMA, he left Kyiv and returned after active hostilities. But he assured that he was able to keep the team, except for some employees. 

The commission was also interested in a possible conflict of interest of Andrii Potiomkin, ex-head of the legal department of the ARMA, with his twin brother, and the declaration of free use of the car by Oleksandr Sydorzhevskyi, head of the department of the Investigation Office of Financial Investigations in the Main Department of the SFS in Kyiv Oblast.

What’s next? 

Interviews are the last stage of the ARMA competition. Subsequently, the commission must convene a meeting and vote for the winner of the competition. Perhaps the result will be approved by the end of July. Of course, if the commission does not delay this process.

The ARMA should be headed by an independent and honest leader. Lack of specialized knowledge, charges of a criminal offense even without a verdict, actions in a potential conflict of interest, previous ineffective experience in the ARMA are essential factors for doubt. 

The selection commission should choose not the best of the worst, but a worthy candidate who will be able to fully and effectively perform the work, and so that ARMA employees and other stakeholders have no doubts about his integrity. If there are no such candidates at the moment, the commission has the right to recognize this and continue the search.

Let us remind you that on December 24, 2021, tests were conducted to check the knowledge of general and special legislation. According to its results, 10 out of 12 candidates passed to the final stage of the ARMA competition. TI Ukraine repeatedly emphasized the non-transparency and problems of the competition, which, among other things, prevented all worthy and willing candidates from taking part in the selection.

In February 2022, the commission began preparations for special checks, but due to the russian invasion, this stage of the competition was postponed until spring.

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If there are no such candidates at the moment, the commission has the right to recognize this and continue the search.