Roman Symkiv – reformer of the week

Roman Symkiv, an anti-corruption prosecutor, led the corruption case at Kyiv’s Solomyansky Court against State Fiscal Service Chief Roman Nasirov jointly with his colleague Andriy Perov.

Kyiv’s Solomyanka District Court arrested Nasirov for two months and set Hr 100 million ($3.7 million) bail on March 7. Nasirov is suspected of illegally allowing participants of an alleged corruption scheme at gas producer Ukrgazvydobuvannya to delay tax payments.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau, headed by Artem Sytnyk, also deserves credit for the Nasirov case.

Meanwhile, Yulia Marushevska, an opponent of Nasirov and former customs chief of Odesa Oblast, claimed on March 3 that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) were retaliating against her in response to the Nasirov case by searching her apartment and that of her former subordinate Roman Bakhovsky. Marushevska, an associate of former Odesa Oblast Governor Mikheil Saakashvili, said the searches were part of an investigation into her customs reform initiatives that Nasirov interpreted as corruption.

Another Saakashvili ally targeted by law enforcers is Timur Nishnianidze, who was in charge of cutting government staff as part of Saakashvili’s reforms in Odesa. Saakashvili also said on March 5 that Nishnianidze was expected to be arrested in an embezzlement and fraud case that he believes to be a political vendetta against Saakashvili’s team.

Maxim Melnychenko – anti-reformer of the week

Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko on Feb. 28 appointed Maxim Melnychenko as a deputy head of the department for oversight over investigators – an appointment that the Justice Ministry’s lustration department believes to be illegal.

Melnychenko must be fired under the lustration law on the dismissal of officials who served ex-President Viktor Yanukovych because he was a deputy chief prosecutor of Kyiv’s Podil district during the 2013–2014 EuroMaidan Revolution, the lustration department believes.

In 2015 Melnychenko was exempted from lustration through a highly controversial court ruling made by judge Viktor Danylyshyn, who is himself subject to lustration because he banned EuroMaidan rallies. The ruling was not contested by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Meanwhile, ex-deputy prosecutor generals Vitaliy Kasko and Davit Sakvarelidze have accused Melnychenko, a protégé of ex-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, of sabotaging the work of the Inspectorate General when he headed it from 2015 to 2016. After the resignation of Kasko and Sakvarelidze, Melnychenko’s Inspectorate General made no progress in investigating prosecutors’ corruption.

Lutsenko has also refused to fire Oleh Valendyuk, a top prosecutor subject to dismissal under the lustration law and an ally of President Petro Poroshenko’s grey cardinal Oleksandr Hranovsky.

Critics see Melnychenko’s appointment as proof of Lutsenko’s refusal to cleanse the prosecution service and wholesale sabotage of lustration by Lutsenko and Poroshenko. The Prosecutor General’s Office and Poroshenko have denied accusations of sabotage.

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