The European Union, key European powers, and the World Bank have written a letter to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, as well as the President's Office over the draft resolution the parliament intends to pass on September 3.
The letter from Western donors and creditors of Ukraine is reportedly at the disposal of the Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda.
The appeal signed on Wednesday, September 2, is intended to warn of the possible implications of the decision to change the composition of the commission formed to select the new chief of the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office. Draft resolution No. 3839 on this matter was included in the parliament's agenda for Thursday, September 3.
Read alsoAppointment of NABU director ruled unconstitutional – sourceIt is noteworthy the letter signed by the ambassadors of the European Union, Germany, UK, and the World Bank regional director, which formally refers to the Rada decision only, was also sent to Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak.
Representatives of Western donors and lenders reportedly say the anti-corruption efforts of the Ukrainian authorities have been and remain at the crucial to partnership between the international community and Ukraine, while SAPO is a critical part of the Ukrainian anti-corruption architecture, and therefore, a transparent selection procedure for selecting the new SAPO head after the resignation of Nazar Kholodnytsky is vital, according to European Pravda.
According to the legislation, the Verkhovna Rada shall appoint members of the SAPO chief selection commission. The resolution put to vote by the Verkhovna Rada proposes to replace all seven parliament representatives and determines candidates for replacement. The authors of the letter refrained from individual assessments of the new candidates, however, they outlined in advance the criterion that would determine credibility of the competition for the SAPO chief post.
The letter refers to the law on the prosecutor's office, which say that the key in this process is that the selection committee should be formed from among highly reputable candidates with significant experience in the field of combating corruption.
Public confidence in the selection process will largely depend on the composition of the selection committee, the letter says.
Commission for selecting new SAPO chief: background
According to a source of the European Pravda, the emphasis on the anti-corruption experience of commission members was made due to the fact that the Verkhovna Rada, contrary to Ukrainian legislation, plans to appoint commission members who have no such experience whatsoever. This raises questions in advance about the quality of selection, Western diplomats stress.
Earlier, Ukrainian anti-corruption experts also voiced concerns about the lack of such experience among parliamentary candidates for the commission. It consists of 11 members: four representatives of the council of prosecutors, who were designated previously, and seven delegated by the Verkhovna Rada. Thus, parliament-appointed candidates form the majority.
Transparent and eligible selection of the new SAPO head is one of the criteria for the provision of EUR 600 million in EU macro-financial assistance. It is also one of the criteria taken into account when the so-called mechanism for the suspension of visa-free travel is applied by the European Union.
Kholodnytsky's resignation: background
- On August 21, SAPO Head Nazar Kholodnytsky filed for resignation. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has endorsed the letter of resignation.
- According to Kholodnytsky, since start of operations, SAPO, as well as the National Anti-corruption Bureau, has seen a complete rejection on the part of the Prosecutor General's Office, other law enforcement agencies, and politicians.