Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) Semen Kryvonos told reporters that he met with Biden’s National Security advisor to discuss the list of priority reforms recently proposed by the White House during his visit to the US in early September.
According to a letter from the Biden administration, the Ukrainian government and the parliament are expected to increase the number of NABU investigators to 300 in the near future; form a public supervisory board; provide NABU with wiretapping capability; and preserve the independence of NABU.
“We have been talking about the need to strengthen the anti-corruption infrastructure for a long time,” Kryvonos said, answering Kyiv Post’s questions.
“After the appointment, the next day I had a meeting with the G7 representatives, where we discussed it.
“And during our visit to the US, we talked about it at every meeting, including a meeting at the White House with [National Security Adviser of the US President] Jake Sullivan.
“We are always ready for such reforms,” he added.
Kryvonos also said that NABU is ready to gradually increase the number of investigators if the parliament supports this action.
“We clearly understand that increasing the staff of NABU is needed now, as we are working at maximum capacity, demonstrating outstanding results,” Kryvonos said.
The increase in staff allows for more effective monitoring of any corruption risks related to aid provided to Ukraine by international partners. He emphasized that this especially applies to the announced help from the European Union in the amount of €50 billion ($53 billion).
Kryvonos outline: “We clearly understand how we will recruit new detectives and train them. We have concluded several memoranda – with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau of Poland – regarding the future training of detectives, especially for complex financial crimes, including complex financial schemes involving many participants, as well as many foreign jurisdictions.”
Such training with US and Polish law enforcement agencies will help Ukrainian investigators gain experience for further operational exchange of information regarding funds allocated to Ukraine for reconstruction, defense, energy, etc.
“They will see any abuse and report it to us immediately. There will be an appropriate reaction from our side. We will initiate a pre-trial investigation upon detection of crimes, especially those related to international money, bring it to an end and react harshly to any manifestations of abuse,” Kryvonos said.
Currently, NABU has announced the recruitment of new investigators to fill 34 vacancies. Of these, 20 vacancies are positions of detectives who were mobilized into the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion. The average competition for one vacancy lasts 6 to 7 months and involves 8 stages.
“As far as I know, the gradual format of staff increase is currently being discussed. In 2024 - 80 investigators, in 2025 – 100, and so on.
This allows us to evenly distribute the financial burden on the Ukrainian budget and allow us to systematically increase the Bureau’s staff, train and provide people with the appropriate resources and capacities,” Kryvonos explained.
“If the parliament supports the draft law on the gradual increase in the number of staff of the Bureau, we will complete the recruitment of 80 people by the middle of next year.”
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