Ukraine committed to preserve SAPO autonomy, NABU independence by providing it with equipment for 'communication interception' – IMF memo
Ukraine, in a memorandum to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a new stand by program, declared the preservation of the autonomy of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) and the maintenance of independence of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) by maintaining limited grounds for dismissing its head.
"We will ensure the autonomy of SAPO. In this regard, we will review the legal framework to improve the procedures for selection of SAPO officials, strengthen its capacity to regulate its organizational activities similar to the regional prosecutorial offices, and assess its performance through an external audit of reputable and respectable experts with international experience in anti-corruption law enforcement," the document reads.
According to it, in terms of the work of NABU, Ukraine is obliged "to uphold NABU's institutional and operational independence, including by upholding procedures for appointment of its head and maintaining the limited and serious grounds for dismissal of its head."
"We will strengthen the investigative powers of NABU to use a wide range of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, intercepting communications, accessing computer systems," the document reads.
The memorandum emphasizes that Ukraine is committed by end-July 2020 to provide "adequate resources and equipment to enable NABU to effectively and independently implement interception of communications for landlines by end-September 2020."
The memorandum also says that the conduct of an external audit of the NABU in accordance with the requirements set out in the NABU Law will be ensured.
As for the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC), then according to the document, Ukraine in committed to provide adequate financial resources for its activities, including staffing and IT requirements and maintaining competitive staff remuneration.
As reported, at the end of last year, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law that would allow NABU and the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) an autonomous right to wiretap. The Verkhovna Rada adopted this law on October 4. The document amends Article 263 of the Criminal Procedure Code according to which the NABU and the SBI will be authorized to intercept information from transport telecommunication networks, which is actually the right to wiretap. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova accused the SAPO of the inefficiency of its prosecutors' perfomance. The SAPO reacted to this statement with disagreement and asked not to interfere with the work of anti-corruption bodies.