The National Agency on Corruption Prevention has become a breeding ground for bribery. There is a paradox - it was supposed to fight the corruption, not join it. But here is a fact: the new head of the NACP, Alexander Novikov, recruited people without a competition who do not conduct full checks of declarations, and declare their achievements at the expense of the previous leadership. At the same time, the new team is comprised of former prosecutors or experts. The difference in worldviews and life experience is already becoming obvious: instead of quickly making the necessary decisions, a positional confrontation is observed between the two groups. Many significant indicators of NACP, compared with last year, fell almost 5 times. There are no heads of departments, and their functions in violation of the law are performed by “puppet” department heads.
It has been six months since the so-called rebooting of the NAPC. On October 16, 2019, the president signed the law on the rebooting of the Agency, which dismisses the leadership of the NACP and changes the model of managing the body from the collegial to the individual one. A key element in the “reboot” was the holding of a competition for the new head of the organization.
In January 2020, the government of Alexei Goncharuk, according to the results of the competition, appointed Alexander Novikov as the new chairman of the NACP. He was supposed to overcome corruption in the structure and make its work transparent.
At the time of his appointment, then Prime Minister Goncharuk said: “He has an important task - to ensure the openness and transparency of the body, and even more - to show us all the concrete results of the elimination of corruption.” Six months have already passed since the so-called reboot of the Agency as well as Novikov’s more than 100 days in office as the new head. However, “nothing has changed.”
As is customary with politicians, after 100 days in office, Novikov decided to report on his “achievements”, which he had nothing to do with.
He had to appropriate the achievements of his predecessors, replace concepts, as well as create fake news and blame others for everything. Therefore, it is time to debunk the myths about the achievements of Alexander Novikov.
Novikov reports on the transfer to law enforcement authorities of about 70 materials on the declaration of false information in the amount of almost UAH 900 million. But in fact, not a single full check of declarations has been carried out during this time.
The head of the NACP reported the results of the Agency's work in previous years to law enforcement. That is, his new team has nothing to do with these materials.
The question of the legality of such actions arises immediately because the NACP sends the data to law enforcement agencies in case of establishing false information in the declaration, based on the results of its full verification. However, the only form of approval of the results of a full audit, in accordance with the procedure for conducting full inspections, is the decision of the NACP, which could not be taken, since all members have already been dismissed for six months.
Thus, there could be no results of complete checks, and, accordingly, the legality of the transfer of information to law enforcement agencies raises questions.
Novikov and his team compiled as many as 18 administrative protocols. At the same time, over the four months of 2019, NACP officials compiled 749 administrative protocols.
We are witnessing either the complete inaction and lack of professionalism on the part of Alexander Novikov or the active corruption activity of the NACP.
The latter is most obvious because it is no accident that the indicators by which the organization reports on its activities have changed on the Agency’s website since January 2020:
• Statistics on the number of administrative protocols have completely disappeared;
• A new indicator has appeared - information on cases of administrative offenses.
In accordance with the Procedure for filling out protocols on administrative violations of the NACP, cases are formed only after a protocol on violations has been drawn up. It is not clear why the number of protocols does not coincide with the number of cases.
If this is the total number of inspections conducted by the National Agency, then, they are not consistent with the number of received reports of corruption, and, therefore, this figure is fictitious.
It is also interesting that there are no other indicators. The NACP, apparently due to the heavy workload, has not yet managed to publish the statistics for March 2020. In this case, it is possible to compare the indicators of February 2019 and 2020. While the number of registered reports of violations of anti-corruption laws and measures to monitor conflict of interest is more or less the same, other indicators have substantially “sunk”.
For example, in January-February 2020, 531 checks of notifications of late submission of declarations were carried out. For the same period in 2019, the NACP conducted 2,409 similar inspections. The difference is obvious - indicators decreased by almost 5 times.
The site also has an indicator of the number of verified messages about the possible reflection of false information in the declaration. But it is not clear how this reporting is formed, as complete checks of declarations are not carried out, and the accuracy of the information in the declaration can be checked only as part of a full check. There is a whole department of complete checks of declarations which does not fulfill its main tasks and yet receives bonuses for intensity.
Even before the arrival of Novikov and the start of the so-called reboot (in October 2019), the authorized representatives of the National Agency for the compilation of protocols were all the main specialists and the management of the departments authorized to conduct inspections. But, after the appointment of the new manager, the number of authorized persons in the NACP who have the right to conduct inspections barely amounts to 10 people.
This explains the low performance of the National Agency and indicates that the new chairman is afraid of independent authorized persons.
In an interview dated April 23, 2020, Novikov states: “NACP did not have access to all registries, now we have access to all 16 registries which will help us verify data from declarations.”
This statement is another lie. Indeed, on November 1, 2019, the National Agency’s website posted news that it has approved protocols for access to all 16 registers and databases necessary for checking declarations in an automated mode. Consequently, Novikov again appropriated other people's achievements.
45 employees, primarily those who held senior positions, were dismissed. Novikov appointed new people to replace them, but no competition took place during this period.
Inexplicably, a certain former private entrepreneur Igor Khokhich (the owner of “ART-EXPRES PLUS”) became the head of the apparatus. He is not known to have worked in the civil service.
Similarly, without legal justification, the following characters were assigned to the NACP:
• Dmitry Kalmykov - Head of the Department of Anti-Corruption Policy;
• Sergey Derkach - Head of the Department for the Prevention and Detection of Corruption;
• Yaroslav Lyubchenko - Head of the Legal Department.
At the same time, the key departments that are involved in checking declarations and conflicts of interest remain without managers. Another violation is that the fulfillment of duties was not assigned to the deputies of departments, but the heads of departments, which contradicts the law.
This is easily explained because during his work at the General Prosecutor's Office Novikov maintained friendly relations with some useful people:
• Alexander Shulga, who temporarily headed the conflict of interest department;
• Alexander Ampleev who temporarily held the position of head of the Declaration Verification Department. His appointment was not prevented by a number of corruption scandals.
These people are now involved in checking declarations.
The head of the NACP explains the lack of full checks of declarations by the fact that the Ministry of Justice takes too long to register the appropriate procedure. Novikov was appointed on January 15, 2020, and he submitted the procedure for full verification of declarations to state registration with the Ministry of Justice only on March 16, 2020.
The last declaring season went by with relatively few issues in the registry and it would seem that the National Agency solved all the problems with functioning at last. And yet this year all the old problems are there again: the inability to enter the registry, the form of the declaration is constantly being changed and information is not stored.
The NACP was able to apply an order that allows checking declarations only at the end of April 2020. However, there weren’t any discussions regarding the document. As a result, the following issues arise:
• It does not contain a definition of the term “false data” - the first and main subject of verification of each declaration;
• The provisions on the so-called logical and arithmetic control, the prototype of the automated check, for which Ukraine received EUR 500 million of macro-financial assistance from the EU, have disappeared from the main regulatory act of the NACP;
• The leak of personal data of citizens. The citizens who have the status of lawyers and information about which has been made public have appealed for clarifications.
On February 7, 2019, an agreement between NACP and “ALTAYUR” LLC on the provision of equipment rental services was concluded. The Register of declarations is stored on this equipment. The contract expired on December 31, 2019.
On December 28, 2019, NAPK turned to “ALTAYUR” LLC with a request to continue providing rental services with a guarantee of subsequent payment until the procurement procedure is completed. But the new head of the National Agency did not like the cost of the lease, and he appealed to NABU.
Now Novikov refuses to return the equipment and uses it for free, without even considering looking for a new supplier.
Novikov managed to appoint his people who paralyzed the work of the National Agency: they did not conduct full checks of declarations and did not respond properly to violations of corruption laws. At the same time, only the salary payment (without bonuses) to NAPC employees, including management, is UAH 8.5 million per month.