The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine states that the deprivation of criminal liability for illicit enrichment performed through a decision of the Constitutional Court opens up opportunities for officials to perform various abuses and provides an indulgence to commit criminal corruption offenses. In addition, the proceedings concerning officials previously initiated under this article will soon be closed.
NABU will soon suspend the proceedings due to the decision of the Constitutional Court.
“From now on, millions of wealth obtained from sources that were not confirmed legal shall not be considered a criminal offense in Ukraine,” the NABU statement said.
In the opinion of the National Bureau, this decision of the Constitutional Court is politically motivated and contrary to Ukraine’s obligations under the ratified UN Convention against Corruption, agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
NABU also states that their detectives are investigating the facts of illegal enrichment amounting to more than half a billion hryvnia within 65 criminal proceedings. Among the suspects are judges, prosecutors, deputies, former and current heads of state authorities.
According to the press service, the decision of the Constitutional Court means that all criminal proceedings relating to the illegal enrichment of these persons will be closed. Just like the cases that are already being heard in court.
“It will be impossible to update the investigation regarding the defendants of all 65 criminal proceedings, as well as suspects and accused on the already established facts of illegal enrichment (in case of returning the relevant article to the Criminal Code) because the law is not retroactive. Therefore, the acquired property will be considered legal by default, regardless of its sources of origin,” the statement says.
According to NABU, the decision of the Constitutional Court “is a step backward in the anti-corruption struggle of Ukraine and a step towards the reestablishing of the old system”.
After the resonance which was caused by the news about the abolition of this article of the Criminal Code, the presidential representative in the Verkhovna Rada Irina Lutsenko said that President Petro Poroshenko intends to submit to the Verkhovna Rada an urgent new draft law on criminal liability for illegal enrichment.