Investigation: Name of new head of NACP to be determined before competition is over

Investigation: Name of new head of NACP to be determined before competition is over

Kyiv  •  UNN

February 24 2024, 10:39 AM  •  433595 views

Who is planned to be put at the head of the National Agency for the next four years - UNN learned about what is happening behind the scenes of the competition

A few days before the official announcement of the results of the competition for the position of the head of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, the current first deputy head of the NACP, Artem Sytnyk, held a closed meeting where he confronted the audience with the fact that the winner had already been determined. UNN learned about this from the participants of the meeting, who wished to speak only on condition of anonymity, given the sensitivity of the issue.

As UNN has learned, Andriy Vyshnevsky has been identified as the main candidate for the post of chairman, and if something prevents his appointment, Dmytro Kalmykov will take over.

The meeting took place in Artem Sytnyk's office on February 22, while the finalists were still preparing for interviews (scheduled for February 24 and 25). Sytnyk, who, by the way, was prosecuted for corruption as head of the NABU, gathered a narrow circle of the NACP team and announced that the winner of the competition would be Andriy Vyshnevsky, and the backup, in case of force majeure, would be Dmytro Kalmykov. Sytnyk wants to implement everything very quickly - the results will be announced on February 25, the sources told UNN. The government, given the risk of delegitimization of the competition due to the lack of transparency, should quickly appoint the winner. The next step will be to replace the deputies. Sytnyk himself, by agreement with Vyshnevsky and Kalmykov, will retain the position of first deputy and will be responsible for the financial control function. Kalmykov will be promoted to the position of deputy. If it is impossible to appoint Vyshnevskyi as the Head, Kalmykov will take this position, and Vyshnevskyi will be appointed as a deputy. After that, a number of personnel and organizational changes are planned for the NACP: a change in the staffing table, complete liquidation of the unit that dealt with issues related to bringing Russia and its accomplices to justice. The internal control and HR teams that conducted the internal checks on Vyshnevsky will be dismissed. In total, about 50% of the agency's staff is to be dismissed.

"The NACP should fight nepotism and promote transparent competitions for appointments to public office. The imitation of the competition, which he (Artem Sytnyk - ed.) is showing off to the team, puts a fat cross on the next four years of the NACP's work," a NACP employee who attended the meeting on condition of anonymity for fear of negative consequences if he is exposed told the agency.

"Rumors about Kalmykov and Vyshnevsky's deal with Sytnyk, who, through the Anti-Corruption Action Center (an NGO - ed.), will ensure one of them a victory and the other a deputy in exchange for keeping the position of first deputy and their non-interference in control (financial control - the authority to verify declarations - ed.), have been around for a long time. We thought it was just standard noise. When Sytnyk confirmed this, we realized that it would be "everything to friends, law to enemies," the second source explained to the publication, saying that he plans to resign from the NACP if this scenario is implemented.P

Recognizing the importance of the process and the consequences of reporting false information that could discredit both international organizations and the competition as a whole, and call into question the legitimacy of the future chair, the agency contacted several other individuals in the government, the NACP and the civil society to confirm or deny our findings and the information reported. Each of the sources named one of the two names as the likely winner, citing Sytnyk's support as the main reason, including his close contacts with Iryna Shyba, who heads the commission's secretariat. We will not evaluate Artem Sytnyk himself and his achievements as head of the NABU or first deputy head of the NACP, but regardless of his reputation and trust in society, his influence on the work of the commission is illegal. The private interest that motivates the use of influence in the form of retention of the position and direction that allows "punishment" is dishonest. This will result not only in the illegitimacy of the new head and the seizure of the body by a narrow group of people, but also in discrediting the entire system of competitions and the anti-corruption movement. Isn't this too high a price for a country at war to pay for the wounded ambitions of one person?

UNN collected a lot of interesting information about the contest, which was not transparent from the very beginning, and by the end it ceased to be a contest at all.

The competition lasted from December last year and the media attention to it was rather sluggish. With the exception of a few publications from NGOs engaged by the commission itself to help with the competition and the Judicial and Legal Newspaper, a publication for lawyers about lawyers, there was virtually no other analysis. The NACP can be confidently called one of the most underestimated bodies in the country. Mistakenly underestimated. 64 people submitted documents for the competition. The commission allowed 51 to be selected, explaining in detail the reasons for the disqualification of the others. The second stage of the competition was attended by 24 people who scored 107 or more points in the general ability test. It was at this point that the Competition Commission, consisting of three representatives from Ukraine and three from international organizations, completed the transparent process of evaluating candidates and switched to a de facto closed, subjective disqualification regime. The Selection Panel disqualified another 14 people from further participation in the competition after conducting tests on anti-corruption legislation, ethical leadership, an interview with a psychologist, an essay on the strategic vision of the agency's future, and an integrity interview. None of the disqualified candidates were provided with an explanation of the reasons for their exclusion, nor were the results of the testing and other stages published. The Commission did not provide any explanation at all as to why these ten people were chosen to participate in the final. The ten selected do not have any common features, among them there are people who can be confidently called dishonest, not all of them have experience in management positions, and some of them showed the minimum acceptable results during the first and only transparent stage of the assessment. At a private meeting with the Commission members, some representatives of civil society organizations expressed their concerns about the lack of transparency in the selection process. Some voiced them publicly, emphasizing that such actions of the Commission could discredit the very idea of competitions in the eyes of Ukrainians. But this did not affect the Commission's position. The reason why some were disqualified and others admitted remained a secret of the commission.

Favorites of the "competition"

We have learned facts about the two favorites of this selection, one of whom may be announced the winner tomorrow. Here are the most interesting facts.

Dmitry Kalmykov:

-       Dmytro's brother was convicted in 2017 for financing terrorism.

-       Kalmykov himself had ties to the so-called "LNR", which he used to keep his property in the occupied territory and transfer resources from the Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Andriy Vyshnevsky:

-       Vyshnevsky left all his previous jobs with scandals; at the Ministry of Justice, he even sat at a table that was taken out into the corridor to convince him to leave his office as a dismissed employee.

-       In 2011, Vyshnevsky was investigated on suspicion of committing a crime under Article 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (hooliganism).

-       In 2013, Vyshnevsky was investigated on suspicion of committing a crime under Article 307 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (drugs).

-       Vyshnevskyi was found to have used a fake document on his ineligibility for military service during his employment, which, according to our sources, the Commission was informed about, but did not ask Vyshnevskyi about it, as well as about the previous two points.

-       Vyshnevskyi was dismissed from the NACP "under the article" for improper performance of duties following an internal investigation. 

Now, these individuals may become the head of the warring country's anti-corruption body for the next four years.

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