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The Cabinet of Ministers has approved for submitting to Parliament a bill that grants the National Anti-corruption Bureau the status of executive authority, at the same time providing for the first deputy director to lead the agency during the transition period.

The draft law intends to change the procedure for appointing a Bureau's director, according to Justice Minister Denys Maliuska.

The minister has recalled that the Constitutional Court, by two decisions, recognized as in breach of the Basic Law the presidential decree on the appointment of Artem Sytnyk as NABU Director, as well as provisions of the law on NABU in terms of the president's role in selecting and appointing the agency's chief.

"The government was faced with the task of fixing the loophole in the law and settling the issue of the status of both NABU and its director. The first attempt was Bill No. 4437, in which the government (in order to avoid any speculation about the legitimacy of NABU director) proposed at the legislative level to grant Artem Sytnyk powers of NABU Director until a new director is selected by the new procedure. Unfortunately, No. 4437 saw no support in parliament," the minister explained.

At the same time, the minister adds, the problem of the "loophole" in legislation and NABU status remained, and fixing it is one of the conditions for Ukraine's cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

Read alsoZelensky's Office says Tatarov's statement on NABU doesn't reflect official position"Therefore, the government has made another attempt – a new bill that provides NABU with the status of an executive body and a new procedure for electing a NABU director. Also, a separate provision of the bill states that pending selection of a new NABU director, the director's powers will be performed by first deputy NABU director. Let's see how the Parliament reacts to this bill," wrote Maliuska.

The minister has referred to First Deputy NABU Director Gizo Uglava as an "impartial" official.

"A separate clarification: personally, I'm perfectly fine with Artem Sytnyk. He has demonstrated resilience and professionalism that many could only envy. And my favorite is bill No. 4437. But, as you know, politics is the art of the possible. And if the status of NABU as an institution can be fixed only by cutting Artem's term in office, this option shouldn't be rejected either. Moreover, it seems no one has any doubts about Gizo Uglava's independence and impartiality," Maliuska emphasized.

He stressed that the discussion around the content of the draft laws will continue in Parliament.

NABU row

On July 28, 2020, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the presidential decree of April 16, 2015, on the appointment of Artem Sytnyk as NABU Director.

On September 16, the Constitutional Court ruled unconstitutional a number of provisions of the law on NABU", including those empowering a President to form NABU, appoint and dismiss its director, appoint three persons to the selection commission, appoint one member to the external control commission conducting an independent assessment (audit) of NABU's effectiveness, its operational and institutional independence, and approve the regulation on the Civil Control Council and the procedure for its formation.

On December 16, the CCU decision entered into force, invalidating the mentioned provisions of the law on NABU. At the time, Minister of Justice Denys Maliuska claimed this did not change the status of either NABU Director Artem Sytnyk or the Bureau.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has assured G7 ambassadors that once the provisions of the law on the National Anti-Corruption Bureau are terminated, Artem Sytnyk will retain his post.

What is NABU

The agency was established in 2014 after its predecessor, the National Anti-Corruption Committee was considered a failure. The Bureau was created on the request of the International Monetary Fund, according to Wikipedia.

The agency's government funding is mandated under American and European Union aid programs. It has an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI.