The Selection Commission for head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office must officially announce the winner of the competitive selection. Any procrastination plays into the hands of the Kremlin and its propaganda.

Two days before the Russian invasion, the selection commission for the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office undermined a regular meeting where it was supposed to approve the scores and appoint the winner. Oleksandr Klymenko had the best scores. But for six months now, the commission has not been able to formally appoint him.

On June 2, Roman Kuobida, a member of the commission from the Council of Prosecutors, broke the silence. Together with other members, he called on the chair of the commission, Kateryna Koval, to initiate a meeting to bring the competition to a logical conclusion. As of Monday, there is no information on whether the meeting will take place. 

There has been no actual progress with selection of the head of SAPO for two years now. There have been various reasons and excuses: the need to conduct another check of the finalists, KAC decision on the illegitimacy of the selection procedure, or certain commission members, such as Olena Busol, Andrii Hudzhalo or Yevhen Sobol, skipping meetings. The competition was mostly blocked by the chair and members of the commission delegated by the Verkhovna Rada.

The absence of the head has been negatively affecting the quality of work not only of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, but also of the entire anti-corruption ecosystem. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova took some decisions on high-profile cases instead of the head of SAPO. She delayed signing the charges of former MP Yurchenko and those involved in the PrivatBank case, changed the prosecutors in Tatarov’s case, facilitating the failure of the case.

The military context has exacerbated the problem of proper management of the SAPO. Acting Chair Maksym Hryshchuk went to war, which put the body into the mode of self-government. And this is when the enemy is already trying to destabilize Ukraine.

Independent selection of the head of the SAPO is a direct duty of both the commission members and Ukraine — before its international partners. Both the public and the G7 ambassadors have repeatedly called on the commission to complete the competition. But all the possible red lines, including the promise to the IMF, to Joe Biden and to Ukrainian society, have been crossed.

Today is almost the last chance to rectify the situation. And it is critical to use it in June, on the eve of Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status.

On the path to European integration, our country must successfully fight corruption. This is one of the key requirements for joining the European Union. The outright delay in the SAPO competition is a bad signal for the EU, and it actually benefits the Russians who are sowing propaganda and trying to disrupt Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic course.

In order not to play into Russia’s hands, the chair and all members of the commission must gather, fulfill their duties and approve the winner this week.