G7 ambassadors warn Ukrainian authorities against sabotaging ESBU reform
Photo: BEB

The ambassadors of the Group of Seven countries sent a letter to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk , in which they warned the Ukrainian authorities against sabotaging the reform of the Economic Security Bureau, reports Economic Pravda.

The G7 ambassadors emphasize that the reform of the Economic Security Bureau should contain four key provisions:

→ open and transparent competition for the position of the new director of ESBU;
→ independent audit of ESBU activities one and three years after the appointment of a new director;
→ the possibility of dismissal of the director of ESBU on the basis of audit findings and the impossibility of dismissal by a government decision on the basis of "unsatisfactory results" of work;
→ re-certification of all ESBU employees and appointment of new ones within a year after the appointment of a new director according to a transparent and legally regulated procedure.

"We emphasize that the adoption of any draft law without these elements will negatively affect the fiscal stability of the country and the fulfillment of the terms of the IMF program and European integration," the ambassadors' letter states.

The adoption of the law on the restart of the ESBU is one of the beacons of the International Monetary Fund, which must be completed by the end of June 2024. The reorganization of the ESBU should include a review of the legal basis of the Bureau, the introduction of transparent processes for the selection of personnel and management on a competitive basis, attestation of personnel and the introduction of a contract system for employees. After the reform, the ESBU, which was created in 2021 instead of the tax police, should come under the control of the Ministry of Finance.

Copies of the G7 ambassadors' letter were sent to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the ministers of economy and justice, as well as heads of committees of the Verkhovna Rada and the head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak.

The appeal to the Ukrainian authorities appeared on the same day, when the law enforcement and tax committees of the parliament agreed on the government's version of the draft law on the ESBU reform.

The leading business associations of Ukraine simultaneously spoke against the adoption of the government draft law No. 10439 on reforming the Economic Security Bureau and supported the alternative No. 10439-2 authored by a group of lawmakers headed by Yaroslav Zheleznyak.

The Anti-Corruption Action Center NGO stated that because of such provisions, "businesses will have to endure the raids of the Tatarov's ESBU for an indefinite period of time."

In response, Minister of Justice Denys Malyuska asked not to delay the reform "in the search between good and even better." According to the minister, the government bill does not contradict the requirements of Ukraine's international partners, as critics try to claim.

In February 2023, the tax committee of the Verkhovna Rada recognized the work of the ESBU as unsatisfactory.

In April 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Vadym Melnyk, director of the Economic Security Bureau, at his own request. The duties of the director are performed by one of his deputies – Andriy Pashchuk.