Departure from Ukraine abroad under martial law: how to eliminate corruption. The NACP presented the research
Since the beginning of the war, the restriction of the right of conscripted men to cross the state border caused a significant public outcry and was accompanied by numerous scandals. Therefore, the NACP, as an authorized body, carried out a thorough analysis of border crossing processes, identified a number of schemes and corruption risks, shortcomings and gaps in legislative regulation and proposed solutions for their elimination.
The results of the research were presented by Artem Sytnyk, Deputy Head of the NACP, during the press conference “Leaving Ukraine under martial law: how to eliminate corruption.”
He noted that the restrictions on the right of citizens to freely leave the territory of Ukraine during the period of martial law in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Regime of Martial Law” can be implemented only by directly establishing it in the decree of the President of Ukraine on the introduction of martial law. In the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On the introduction of martial law in Ukraine” dated February 24, 2022 No. 64/2022, no such limitation was established.
“The decree adopted on February 24 quotes the Constitution verbatim and allows for the possibility of such restrictions in the future, but does not contain the necessary direct ban on leaving. In the case of a decision on the need to limit the right of certain categories of citizens to freely leave the territory of Ukraine during the period of martial law, the first step should be to establish such a restriction in the mentioned Decree of the President of Ukraine by making appropriate changes to it and their further approval by the Verkhovna Rada”, – said Artem Sytnyk.
He added that these restrictions, as well as the legal uncertainty surrounding them, became the primary source of corruption schemes and risks.
“We discovered 8 schemes – both blatantly illegal and semi-legal, as well as 7 related corruption risks. Among the most popular are the departure of men through the Shlyach system as a driver or second driver, fictitious documents with information on the removal of conscripts from the military register, letters from state authorities to the State Border Service, illegal benefits to the officials involved, etc”, – said the Deputy Head of the NACP Artem Sytnyk.
For example, the well-known Oleh Gladkovskiy, former first deputy secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine, was repeatedly booked by regional military administrations, in particular Khmelnytskyi, as a driver of humanitarian cargo. Andriy Portnov’s son went abroad as a driver and never returned. The former Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tupytskyi, left the territory of Ukraine without passing the border and customs control stipulated by the legislation and without checking the documents that grant the right to travel abroad. There are many such examples. According to the State Border Service, since the beginning of martial law, more than 8,000 conscripted men have tried to illegally cross the state border. In addition, about 245 attempts to bribe border guards were recorded, during which the officials refused illegal benefits totaling more than UAH 3.8 million.
In the research, the NACP makes recommendations to the State Border Service, the Ministry of Infrastructure, regional and Kyiv city military administrations, State Service of Ukraine for Transport Safety, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other interested bodies on how to solve the identified problems.
Among the proposals is to make changes to the Presidential Decree of February 24 on the introduction of martial law, to establish restrictions on the departure of relevant categories of citizens, as well as to provide for the possibility for the Government to introduce exceptions. In addition, it is necessary to regulate the administration of the “Shlyah” system, since currently there is no legal act that would regulate the operation of this system.
“The NACP has developed complex recommendations in order to stop the operation of schemes, prevent and minimize corruption risks. We sent the relevant letters with the conclusions of the study to the Office of the President of Ukraine, the Prime Minister, and the Prosecutor General for decision-making. We offered the Government to lead the work on the development and implementation of these measures”, – said the Deputy Head of the NACP.
He added that the further spread of corrupt practices in the issue of men’s departure abroad, the NAСP proposes to urgently consider and implement the proposals provided by us.
“The NACP is ready to undertake part of the work on the development and implementation of the corresponding plan of measures. This should be coordinated work of the Office of the President, the Government, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the NACP and other interested authorities,” – concluded Artem Sytnyk.