5th Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast guests discuss ways to fight corruption

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Brian Bonner chief editor of the Kyiv Post, welcomes everyone and gives opening remarks at the Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast on Feb. 12.

Corruption -- and how to make it go away -- was the topic of the 5th Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast on Feb. 12.

The event, in partnership with DHL Express Ukraine and Syutkin & Partners law firm, took place on Feb. 12 in the Hyatt Regency Hotel Library.

The thrust of the discussion was how to break corrupt links among politicians, businesspeople and bureaucrats. Ukraine was described as an open — and openly corrupt — society in which journalists and civil society member are exposing wrongdoing all the time, but finding that government institutions — police, prosecutors and judges — aren’t punishing lawbreakers.

The prosecutor’s office, in particular, remains under the control of politicians and not independent.

The popularity of the political leaders, including President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has suffered because of weak progress in fighting corruption and strengthening rule of law.

Without improvement, fears were expressed that Ukrainian society will more strongly resist elected leaders and seek new ones.

Businesspeople reported moderate success when they challenged corrupt authorities, either in court or going public to journalists and others with documented allegations of wrongdoing. At the least, some said, a policy of no tolerance of corruption and no bribe-taking or bribe-giving makes government authorities think twice before harassing their enterprises in the future.

Low trust was expressed of judges, law enforcement, political parties and tax authorities, mirroring public attitudes.

The merits of granting amnesty to people for past crimes was also discussed.

Support was expressed for early parliamentary eletions in fall to “clean the system.”

Others saw replacement of judges, paying market salaries to public employees and e-governances as solutions, followed by reduced bureaucracy, greater transparency in public spending, public financing of political parties and removal of lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution.

While some were willing to wait for newly established anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs, others said that Ukraine is running out of time as Western partners develop “Ukraine fatigue.”

Some voiced strong support for conditionality of Western aid, making sure reforms take place before money is given.

A debate took place over privatization of state-owned enterprises, with some calling for speedy sales while others expressed reservations that Ukraine’s oligarchs will acquire them and gain even more power.

Attendees included:

Andriy Bulakh, moderator and managing partner of Deloitte Ukraine;

Vadim Sidoruk, CEO of DHL Express Ukraine;

Nataliya Osadcha, partner of Syutkin & Partners;

Algirdas Semeta, Ukraine’s business ombudsman;

Sergii Leshchenko, member of parliament;

Renato Ruszczyk, general manager of Lactalis Ukraine;

Martin Schumacher, CEO of Metro Cash & Carry;

Petro Rondiak, general director of Winner Imports Ukraine;

Mikhail Budnov, CEO of Schneider Electric Ukraine;

Aliona Galkina, head of law, patent and compliance of Bayer;

Philip Dumel, chairman of teh management board of Ukrsibbank;

Mykhailo Merkulov, CEO of Arricano Real Estate;

Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center;

Lenna Koszarny, CEO of Horizon Capital;and

Peter Chernyshov, CEO of KyivStar.

Kyiv Post attendees included:

chief editor Brian Bonner;

commercial director Alyona Nevmerzhytska;

project manager Victoria Barbaniuk; and

photographer Volodymyr Petrov.

See past Kyiv Post CEO Breakfasts here:

Nov. 13, 2015 – 4th Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast –Kyiv Post/DHL Express/Syutkin & Partners CEO Breakfast tackles trade issues

Sept. 4, 2015 – 3rd Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast – Business, government representatives debate economic strategy at Kyiv Post CEO breakfast

June 12, 2015 – 2nd Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast – Kyiv Post/DHL/Syutkin & Partners host government, business leaders for breakfast talk

April 24, 2015 – 1st Kyiv Post CEO Breakfast – Kyiv Post/DHL host CEO breakfast to discuss leadership strategies

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