16:11 08.12.2023

Rada strengthens autonomy, independence of SAPO

3 min read
Rada strengthens autonomy, independence of SAPO

The Verkhovna Rada has strengthened the autonomy and independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine (SAPO).

Some 298 Members of Parliament voted in favor of corresponding bill No. 10060 at a plenary session on Friday, member of the Holos faction Yaroslav Zhelezniak has said.

"Unfortunately, the bill only very partially repeals some of the norms on 'Lozovy's amendments.' The adoption of the bill is one of the main demands of the IMF and the EU, as well as the G7 ambassadors. However, the latter's position on 'Lozovy's amendments' was ignored," he said on the Telegram channel on Friday.

This law removes the SAPO from the structure of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) and reorganizes it into a separate prosecutorial body in the general system of prosecutors with the status of a separate legal entity of public law, and also provides for changes in the competitive selection procedure for the positions of the head, deputy heads, and prosecutors of the SAPO.

At the same time, the document clarifies the powers of the head of the SAPO, defines the functions and number of employees of this body, proposes to create a Specialized Disciplinary Commission of SAPO prosecutors and conduct an audit of the effectiveness of its activities.

It is envisaged that such an audit will be carried out by a special commission every two years, but not more than twice during the term of office of the head of SAPO. This assessment commission will include three persons appointed by the Prosecutor General on the basis of proposals from international and foreign organizations that, in accordance with international or interstate agreements, provide Ukraine with international technical assistance in the field of preventing and combating corruption.

According to the law, members of this commission may be persons with at least five years of experience in pre-trial investigation bodies, the prosecutor's office, courts, advocacy, including abroad, or in international organizations, which have the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct an audit, and also have an impeccable business reputation.

The commission's conclusion about the ineffectiveness of the SAPO activities due to the improper performance of duties by its head will serve as the basis for his or her early dismissal.

In addition, the adopted law defines a mechanism for the accountability of SAPO management, based on assessing the effectiveness of the body's activities and conducting periodic external audits of its activities with the participation of external experts with international experience.

According to the document, the SAPO is entrusted with the functions of supervising compliance with laws during operational investigative activities, pre-trial investigations by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), supporting the state prosecution in court in relevant proceedings, representing the interests of a citizen or state in court in cases related to corruption offenses, as well as, within the limits of competence, represent the interests of the state in cases of recognition of assets as unfounded and their recovery for state income. As part of the implementation of its functions, the SAPO will be able to carry out international cooperation.

The head of the SAPO, who is at the same time the Deputy Prosecutor General, will report directly to the Prosecutor General.

This law will come into force on January 1, 2024.

As reported, on September 15, the Cabinet of Ministers submitted to the Verkhovna Rada bill No. 10060 on strengthening the autonomy and independence of the SAPO. The parliament adopted it in the first reading on November 21.