On 14 October 2014 the Ukrainian Parliament, following demands from international financial organisations and society, passed several laws aimed at preventing and fighting against corruption. In particular, the main laws that were passed are:
- Law on National Anti-Corruption Bureau
The main and most-awaited law is a Law on National Anti-Corruption Bureau (the “Bureau”). The Bureau is a newly established specialised law enforcement body targeting corruption offences, which will benefit from combined elements of police and prosecutorial powers and authorities. The Bureau will conduct investigations with respect to corruption offences committed by high-level state officials or if the amount of damage caused exceeds 500 [hours of] minimum wages (currently approximately EUR 35 000).
Parliament appoints the head of the Bureau on a proposal of the President. Both the head and other officials of the Bureau are appointed on a competitive basis as a result of an open and transparent competition process. To combat corruption offences, the Bureau accepts applications (including anonymous applications) through the official Bureau web site, e-mail and special hotline and, subsequently, commences an investigation of the alleged corruption offences. The Bureau has wide authority to cooperate with international and foreign law-enforcement organisations and bodies, in particular on matters of asset recovery and prosecution of individuals accused of corruption offences outside the Ukraine.
To prevent corruption within the Bureau, the Law provides special internal control instruments, such as internal control departments and councils of public control. The Law also provides for enhancement of liability for corruption offences committed by officials of the Bureau.
The Law on National Anti-Corruption Bureau will enter into force on 25 January 2015.
- Law on Prevention of Corruption
The Law on Prevention of Corruption was introduced to substitute existing anticorruption laws. In particular, the newly introduced Law provides for the establishment of another state body, the National Anti-Corruption Agency (the “Agency”). Unlike the Bureau, the Agency does not have any investigation powers, instead it is designed as a preventive authority aimed to monitor the current corruption situation in Ukraine and develop a state anticorruption policy.
The Law also provides new rules on receiving gifts and improper advantages by state officials and public service providers (such as auditors, advocates, notaries, insolvency officers, arbitrators etc.). It also introduces a mandatory requirement of implementing a compliance program and establishing the position of a compliance officer in large state entities, as well as private entities involved in public procurement. Additionally the Law introduces the concept of whistle-blowers and provides for their protection.
The provisions of the Law on Prevention of Corruption will become effective on 26 April 2015.