Business asks for real reform of the ESBU and resolution of the issue of pressure on business
On Monday, the Verkhovna Rada registered draft laws No. 10439 and No. 10440 on reforming the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine (ESBU).
For several years, the European Business Association has been emphasizing the need to reboot the ESBU to improve its efficiency and mitigate corruption risks that may arise in the work of this government agency, which is responsible for combating economic crime and smuggling.
In particular, the community emphasized that the selection of key positions at the ESBU should be carried out on a competitive basis and that it is extremely important and of top priority to appoint an effective leader who will continue to form the team. At the same time, after the ESBU staff is renewed on a competitive basis, all criminal proceedings in the economic sphere should be transferred to the ESBU (as all law enforcement agencies can currently handle them). At the same time, analytical work should be the driving force behind the development of the fight against economic crime in Ukraine and make it possible to detect criminal offenses at early stages and prevent them, etc.
However, it is worth noting that the draft law No. 10439 registered this week, according to the business, is not aimed at rebooting the ESBU, as it retains all the provisions of the document that was attempted to be registered in September 2023. In particular, it does not specify when the updated ESBU team should be formed after the election of the head, when and whether the re-certification of old employees should take place, etc.
Similarly, the community is not entirely supportive of draft law No. 10440. After all, it will be quite difficult to implement some of the provisions (in particular, regarding the involvement of the Business Ombudsman Council in searches and seizures in ESBU proceedings). In addition, some provisions duplicate or contradict others (for example, not involving representatives of other law enforcement agencies in investigative actions), etc.
The EBA experts believe that the draft law should provide for the election of a new director of the ESBU with the participation of international partners by the procedures for electing heads of anti-corruption bodies. Also, the competition commission should submit a proposal to the Prime Minister of Ukraine regarding one, not three, candidates for the position of ESBU Director to avoid possible political influence on such an appointment. At the same time, according to business representatives, it is necessary to re-certify all ESBU employees after the election of the new ESBU Director. The ESBU should focus solely on analytical functions, and all economic crimes (after the reform) should be within the ESBU’s competence, etc.
Therefore, the business appeals to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and asks not to vote for these draft laws in this version but to finalize the already registered draft laws No. 10088 and 10088-1, which will be able to reboot the ESBU, taking into account the proposals of business and international partners. We hope that the voice of business will be heard and a draft law that will address the issue of pressure on business will be developed. The EBA is ready to share its proposals once again and join the development of the updated text.