Joint national-international committee sets sights on increasing transparency and accountability in country’s most vital sector

25 October 2016, Kyiv – The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (Nezalezhny Antikorrupciynii Komitet z pytan oborony, or “NAKO”) held its inaugural meeting in Kyiv last week, setting forth its intention to fight corruption in the Ukrainian defence sector. The Committee comprises six members, three national – Sevgil Musaeva, Volodymyr Ogryzko, Oleh Rybachuk (co-chair) – and three international experts – Lt Gen Tim Evans, Drago Kos (co-chair), and James Wasserstrom.

“Corruption in the Ukrainian defence sector is costing lives,” said Oleh Rybachuk. “Our soldiers and citizens deserve an MOD that is efficient, accountable, and serves their interests – our aim is to help our MOD achieve those aims.”

The Committee will develop a strategy 2017-2018. Its mandate, agreed on Thursday 20th of October, includes analysing and evaluating anti-corruption efforts in the defence sector, the development of recommendations, reporting to Ukrainian authorities and the public, promoting transparency, and strengthening accountability structures. It will also, later this year, enable citizens and soldiers to anonymously report corruption concerns to the group.

As a first step, the NAKO will produce a report on lessons learned from other monitoring groups, including the Monitoring & Evaluation Committee in Afghanistan. It will also analyse corruption risks and mechanisms for monitoring security assistance and military aid. Drawing on the findings from the 2015 Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index, produced by TI Defence & Security, it will submit recommendations for inclusion in the Annual National Programme 2017.

“In Afghanistan and Iraq, I saw first-hand the impact that corruption can have on the success of military operations. Without integrity, an Army can’t function effectively – and our aim, in the long-term, is to help the Ukrainian defence forces protect its people and its country,” said Lt Gen Timothy Evans, former commander of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

The idea for a dedicated monitoring body is based on learning from previous efforts in Afghanistan, Guatemala and Palestine. The committee was selected by a joint board of TI Ukraine and TI Defence & Security, following a public call for nominations earlier this year.

The NAKO is a project of TI Defence & Security, based in London, and TI Ukraine, and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

***ENDS***

Contact:
Ukrainian – Sevgil Musaeva, sevamusaeva@gmail.com, +380 502171817
English – Leah Wawro, leah.wawro@transparency.org.uk, +44 789 4219638

Notes to editors

Biographies of NAKO members:

Lieutenant General Timothy Evans CB CBE DSO: A 3 star General in the British Army and former Commander of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

Drago Kos (co-chair): Former Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Slovenia, Former Chair of GRECO, and current Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. “I’ve been coming to Ukraine for 15 years and for the first time I feel the country is ready for real change – and it’s time to include the defence sector too.”

Sevgil Musaeva: Editor in Chief of Ukrainska Pravda and author of investigative reports for Reuters, Forbes Ukraine, and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. “I understood the problems of a weak defence sector when Crimea, my region, was annexed. So for me, it’s personal—I want to make the our armed forces more transparent and effective.”

Oleh Rybachuk (co-chair): Chairman of Centre UA, co-initiator of Chesno Campaign, and former Vice Prime Minister for European Integration and Chief of Staff to the president.

Volodymyr Ogryzko: Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, First Deputy Secretary Defence and Security Council of Ukraine. “We badly need international support to fight corruption in Ukraine.”

James Wasserstrom: Former Head of Oversight of Public Utilities at the UN Mission in Kosovo, Senior Advisor on Anti-Corruption at the US Embassy Kabul, and strategy advisor and lead anti-corruption at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. “Countries in conflict are always immense opportunities for nefarious activities, especially corruption, profiteering, and egregious mismanagement. I look forward to this body tackling all of the above.”

image: flickr.com/Sasha Maksymenko cropped by TI-DSP