KYIV - December 8, 2021. The Ukrainian Bar Association addressed an open letter to Denys Shmygal, Prime Minister of Ukraine calling for measures to ensure a fair, transparent, and objective selection procedure to attract to BES the best candidates with the necessary level of professionalism and reputation.
The UBA supported the process of establishing the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine (hereinafter - BES, Bureau) as a new body, entrusted with the function of combating offenses that encroach on the functioning of the state economy.
According to the Law of Ukraine “On the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine”, BES performs law enforcement, analytical, economic, informational, and other functions. Therefore, BES is not a law enforcement agency, but an analytical body with a law enforcement function, which should detect systemic violations in the field of economics based on the analysis of databases.
The creation of BES was preceded by several developments. The first is the negative practices that existed in the activities of the tax police, NPU, SBU, which previously investigated economic offenses, emphasized by entrepreneurs and the entire legal community. The second reason is the commitment to consolidate the powers to investigate economic crimes into a single investigative body made to international partners, including the International Monetary Fund.
“For the BES to work effectively, it is very important to ensure fair, equitable, and transparent competition for vacant positions in this body. As of the beginning of December, BES has its staff level at 30%. However, the information on the procedure for holding the competition for positions, in particular, of public full-time employees with special ranks, is a matter of serious concern,” UBA experts quoted as saying.
Thus, on October 28, 2021, a competition was announced to fill 76 vacant positions of public staff members with special ranks in BES. The winners of the competition were 74 people, of whom 61 were former employees of the State Fiscal Service and 9 - the National Police. Thus, most of the new staff are former employees of the SFS and NP, which contradicts the idea of creating the BES as a new body that is not purely law enforcement and performs, above all, analytical functions.
The procedure of this competition is rather questionable, namely because:
- Information on persons admitted to testing for knowledge of the law, psychological testing, and interviews was published the day before the actual testing and interviews.
- Questions on knowledge of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine “On Civil Service” and the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” were used to test candidates, while the knowledge of specialized legislation was not included in these questions.
- The competition commission conducted more than 100 interviews with candidates a day, which, obviously, does not provide an objective opportunity to assess the integrity and professional competence of the candidate.
The future staff of the BES will largely determine the efficiency of the Bureau and whether the BES will be able to establish a higher level of trust between business and the state and improve the investment climate.
The Ukrainian Bar Association also expressed its readiness to provide the necessary expert assistance to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the BES, and other authorities.
The full text of the appeal can be found at the link.