On 26 November 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed Resolution No. 691 On the Establishment of the Business Ombudsman Council (the “Resolution”). The Business Ombudsman Council (the “Council”) is a major reform initiative by the Ukraine`s new reform-oriented government to fight corruption, hold governmental agencies accountable for their actions and enhance the transparency, effectiveness and attractiveness of Ukraine`s business environment.
The Council was formed as a consulting and advisory body to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (the “CMU”) pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding for the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative dated 12 May 2014 (the “MoU”) concluded by the CMU, international financial institutions, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and a number of leading Ukrainian business associations.
The Council`s main functions include:
- investigating complaints of businesses regarding acts of corruption and other violations of their rights;
- making recommendations to state and municipal authorities and companies regarding the prevention of alleged violations; and
- publishing periodic reports regarding the outcome of various investigations of alleged corruption offences and/or other violations of legitimate interests of businesses.
Former European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-fraud, Algirdas Šemeta is expected to be appointed to the position of Business Ombudsman.
A separate Law On Establishment of the Business Ombudsman Institution (BOI) is being prepared and is expected to be passed later in 2015; the law will replace the Council with the BOI; the legislation will strengthen and entrench the institution’s functions in fighting corruption and preventing unfair treatment by government bodies of businesses in Ukraine.
Resolution No. 691 On Establishment of the Business Ombudsman Council adopted on 26 November 2014 and effective as of 12 December 2014.