On July 26, the stage of integrity interviews in the framework of the competition for the election of the SAPO head came to an end. Spoiler alert or the expected result: the last two candidates didn’t go any further.

The first candidate was Oleksandr Formahei, head of the compliance service of PrAT Ukrhydroenerho.

From the very beginning of the interview, the candidate emphasized his moral and ethical values, which have guided him throughout his life. According to him, ethics issues have always been a priority for him.

However, the commission members had many questions for the candidate.

Interestingly, Formahei was probably involved in the approval of the Rotterdam+ formula and may have voted for the resolution that actually re-approved the Rotterdam+ formula for 2019. This decision is the subject of a NABU investigation, and, according to investigators, this formula caused at least UAH 39 bln losses.

In this context, the explanations of Formahei, who noted that he did not approve of the continuation of the Rotterdam+formula, looked quite interesting.

The candidate also stated that the conclusions of the polygraph study were untrue. He stressed that the study was conducted unprofessionally and using manipulations against him that influenced his responses. Formahei supported his words with an official statement.

He commented on his failure to pass further with the following words: “I think this is an erroneous decision…but logical.”

Second candidate — Taras Shcherbai, SAPO prosecutor. He has been working in the prosecutor’s office since the very beginning of the formation of the body.

The first question from the commission concerned a letter supporting the former SAPO head Nazar Kholodnytskyi. The candidate noted that the content of the letter concerned exclusively the support of the prosecutors’ independence, and the purpose of the document was to convey to the public that SAPO prosecutors were being influenced and under pressure.

The candidate also answered questions from members of the commission regarding the declaration and gifts from parents in the form of money. The candidate explained the amounts received by the savings of parents-entrepreneurs who had had assets in the form of cars that were sold. The money was given to their son and his family.

Many questions arose regarding the SAPO’s loyalty to Ruslan Zhurylo, a person involved in the UMCC case, and Shcherbai’s direct support for Zhurylo’s departure abroad. The candidate noted that he did not personally visit Zhurylo at the airport.

Even though the candidate provided answers and explanations to the questions, the commission did not support him — Drago Kos voted against.

“With such approaches, we will never elect the head of the SAPO,” the head of the commission noted.

Time to draw conclusions. But is there anything to draw at all? 

A significant part of the candidates did not pass the integrity interview, although some of them were clearly worthy of reaching the next stage. It is sad that the selection of a professional, strong, and exceptionally independent SAPO manager has turned into a competition for survival.

End of the integrity interview stage. End of story. The result of the year-long work is 2 candidates for 2 positions. There are still 2 stages of the competition left, and there is no one to filter out.

Let’s see how the story unfolds.