NABU on Constitution Court's decision: Cases on illicit enrichment will be closed, resumption of investigations impossible
The fact that Ukraine's Constitutional Court recognized a Criminal Code article on illicit enrichment unconstitutional will translate into the closure of all criminal proceedings under this article, and it will be impossible to resume relevant investigations in future, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has said.
"The decision by the Constitutional Court means that all criminal proceedings related to the unlawful enrichment of the suspects will be closed. As well as the cases that are already being heard in court ... Resumption of the investigations... if the relevant article is returned to the Criminal Code will be impossible because the law has no retroactive effect. Therefore, the acquired property by default will be considered legal, regardless of its sources of origin," NABU said in a statement on its website on Wednesday, February 27.
At the present time, NABU detectives are investigating 65 criminal cases dealing with illegal enrichment involving more than UAH 500 million, NABU said. The individuals that have fortunes whose origins are legally questionable include quite a few judges, prosecutors, lawmakers, and former and sitting government officials, it said.
"The decriminalization of illegal enrichment resulting from the Constitutional Court ruling gives public officials free rein to commit abuses and corruption crimes," it said.
The Bureau described the Constitutional Court ruling as politically motivated and going against Ukraine's obligations under the UN Convention Against Corruption that it has ratified and its agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
NABU also suggested that the Constitutional Court ruling might have something to do with the pending start of the work of the new High Anti-Corruption Court, which "has switched on certain political regulation mechanisms."
"We are convinced that such a course of events does not meet the public interests and requirements of clearing the government from corruption. The decision taken by the Constitutional Court is a step backwards in the anti-corruption struggle of Ukraine and a step towards the revenge of the old system," NABU said.