“Cold War” between GPU and NABU
The confrontation between the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (GPU) and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), which has been of a sporadic character for a long time, in recent weeks has grown into direct hostility.
Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and chairman of the NABU Artem Sytnyk publicly asked to refrain from using the term “war”. They even held a joint briefing, where they called the recent events unacceptable. So to say, there are some misunderstandings, but no large-scale conflict. Nevertheless, the showdown between the GPU and NABU already has moved from the offices to the street, so, talking about “minor misunderstandings”, sides are clearly not telling the whole story.
NABU against Shokin
Given the recent events, it seems that the conflict between the GPU and NABU appeared exactly with the arrival of Yuriy Lutsenko to the office on the Riznytska street, but this is not so.
Confrontation of the GPOU to the newly created anti-corruption body literally started with the creation of a new law enforcement agency.
The GPU, then headed by Viktor Shokin, on the first days began to hint that it was not enthusiastic about the emergence of another power body. According to the law, the General Prosecutor’s Office had to pass NABU a certain part of cases that it was investigating. The GPU fulfilled the demand, but the staff of the NABU saw that most of transferred cases were actually old “dead” cases in which the NABU could simply “drown”. The NABU administration was not easy to intimidate and returned most of the cases. Moreover, it obtained the possibility to investigate new cases.
Later Shokin switched to the GPOU’s internal struggle against his deputies David Sakvarelidze and Vitaliy Kasko, which ultimately ended in failure for all of its participants. At least, if we consider the work in the GPOU, since you will not see all these people there anymore.
At this time, the NABU was not sitting idle and started multiple high-profile investigations, which featured significant people of the political elite of the country. Among those who interested the NABU detectives were Ihor Kononenko, Mykola Martynenko and the ATO prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk.
It was the case against the latter one that would later become the key element in the GPOU-NABU confrontation.
In May the saga of appointment of a new Prosecutor General was finally over. The NABU then expressed hopes of good cooperation with Yuriy Lutsenko.
Before the appointment the new Prosecutor General had promised to clear the PGOU staff from odious cadre, but after entering the office on Riznytska street his rhetoric changed. In fact, the GPU system left the tested cadres who worked with his predecessor Viktor Shokin.
Within 10 days after the appointment of Lutsenko the NABU sent a suspicion of the already mentioned Kulyk to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskyi. The NABU had questions to the prosecutor due to the fact that he and his concubinagee had suddenly received apartments and cars worth of several million hryvnyas that did not coincide with his declarations. Kulyk was summoned for questioning, but he failed to appear three times, arguing that by business trips.
A month passed, and the NABU decided not to wait until the prosecutor came in for questioning and arrived to his place with a search warrant and handed him a statement of suspicion. Then he was removed from office, but was later reinstated by the court. Participants in both structures say that this case has started cooling of relations between Lutsenko and Sytnyk.
Throughout June the NABU was investigatiing the case of the deputy from the “Volia Narodu” group Oleksandr Onyshchenko. Yuriy Lutsenko publicly supported the NABU, but already after the deputy had his parliamentary immunity lifted, the NABU and GPU had their another misunderstanding.
The NABU was expecting the Prosecutor General’s signature under the statement of suspicion to be handed to Onyschenko, but Lutsenko was avoiding it for a long time. The GPU explained it by the fact the statement had been executed inadequately. Notably, the chief representative of the Prosecutor General’s position was already mentioned Military Prosecutor Matios.
The NABU could not announce investigation of Onyschenko without a signed suspicion. After all, 20 days after the parliamentary immunity had been lifted, the Onyschenko’s suspicion was signed. However, the main suspect, based on his words, was already in London.
TV Show and Violent Confrontation
Previously NABU investigators were visiting prosecutors with searches; at the beginning of August they were unexpectedly visited with the one by prosecutors, led by the Head of the Department of Critical Economic Affairs, called the “Department of Kononenko and Hranovskyi”, Dmytro Sus. The prosecutors stated the NABU was wiretapping someone illegally.
Sytnyk did not allow to conduct the search. Moreover, to ensure order the NABU invited special forces to its office. However, the NABU provided the documents requested by the prosecutors. Sytnyk stated that just NABU itself did not wiretap and used help of the Security Service of Ukraine, which had the appropriate authority. The most interesting thing is that the NABU has been fighting for a long time to get the right to do wiretappinng by itself, without the SSU.
If in early August the violent confrontation was avoided, on August 12 this development could not be avoided. On this day the GPU investigators burst into the flat on the Symona Petliury street in Kyiv, the windows of which were facing the office of one of the GPU departments. It is worth noting that aforementioned Sus again stood out among the prosecutors.
The investigators found there the NABU officers who were involved in wiretapping and detained two of them.
The NABU stated that all actions committed against its staff were authorized by the court, and sent its special forces to pull up one of his staff to the scene where a clash with prosecutors happened.
The prosecutors accused the NABU in the use of force. Online video even appeared, which seemed to indicate the moments of abuse of authority by the NABU. To make it more dramatic, the video is even accompanied with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.
In turn, the NABU accused the GPU’s personnel in the threats to use weapons and torturing its employees who were illegally detained by the prosecutors.
Lutsenko was silent for a long time, not commenting on what had happened, but after return from Israel he met with all the heads of security forces and took part in the meeting with the President. The result was the decision that the incident between the GPU and NABU’s personnel would be investigated by the SSU.
Although the parties promise not to interfere in the investigation and avoid similar incidents in the future, it is too early to talk about peace. Rather, it may be called a fragile truce that can switch back to the hot phase at any moment.
Based on the materials of websites http://espreso.tv, http://blogs.korrespondent.net, http://vybor.ua