The need to win the war and rebuild the country after victory are the main goals and priorities for the entire nation as a whole and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine in particular. Corruption today is not just a criminal offense; it's a crime against the Ukrainian state and people, direct aid to the enemy, and a blow to the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, both men and women, who defend the country's independence with weapons in hand. According to sociological surveys, during the future reconstruction, corruption is the primary concern of Ukrainians: 73% of Ukrainians and 80% of business representatives are most worried about the return of corrupt schemes in the reconstruction processes. This is even more worrying than the fear of hostilities (55% of Ukrainians and 45% of business representatives).

Such high goals and priorities further emphasize the capability of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau to face a range of internal and external challenges.

Internal Challenges

Prioritizing investigations, full implementation of the electronic criminal proceedings system, and the launch of a "single window" for collecting data from state registries.

  • Prioritizing investigations. Society urgently demands to tackle corruption happening here and now, involving current high-ranking officials. Recent arrests of the heads of the Supreme Court and State Judicial Administration, lawmakers, and government representatives indicate that NABU is actively working in this direction. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the Bureau's task is to uncover more beneath the surface.
  • Embracing digitization as a tool to minimize human error risks and speed up case processing is another effort. This includes the complete launching of the eCase Management System for electronic criminal proceedings.
  • Gathering necessary investigative information from state registries and databases is complex and time-consuming. NABU is developing a system (single window) to integrate this information and a system for detective coordination during investigations. Adequate funding is required, which NABU counts on. Obtaining information from mobile operators and banks, especially regarding persons accounts, is also a pressing issue. NABU has proposed relevant solutions and is awaiting action from authorities.

External Challenges

External challenges involve expanding NABU's detectives and analysts, as well as the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office and the High Anti-Corruption Court's staff, establishing an independent forensic institution under NABU, and implementing the "wiretapping" tool.

  • Increasing NABU's personnel by 300. The Bureau needs more detectives, who work in the field and achieve tangible results in specific cases and verdicts. This decision is within the purview of the Parliament. The necessary legislation exists, and contacts with the relevant committee have been established. Political will is required, and NABU relies not only on responsible politicians but also on civil society and the influential voice of honest and transparent businesses.
  • Strengthening SAPO and HACC's capabilities is essential to counter top-level corruption alongside NABU. Accelerating the pace of verdicts is crucial, given some court proceedings are pending for three years or more. This may result in the evasion of responsibility for persons accused of corrupt acts.
  • Establishing an independent forensic institution that meets all standards. Today's forensic evaluation slows down criminal investigations. The existing system cannot effectively support all of NABU's investigations. The Bureau is prepared to discuss and advocate for the urgency of this initiative.
  • Demonstrating political will to fully implement the 2019 "wiretapping" law. The implementation of decisions approved by the Parliament is a marker of the state's maturity and democracy.

The fight against corruption is an essential groundwork that Ukraine must complete on its path towards both European Union and NATO membership. In June, the European Commission issued an interim assessment of Ukraine's progress toward fulfilling the conditions necessary to begin negotiations for EU membership. The assessment, characterized as "some progress," was granted, particularly in terms of anti-corruption efforts. As Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, stated during her speech at the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Ukraine is sending a powerful message to private investors through its reforms. They will find transparency, fairness, and functioning institutions essential for investing in Ukraine.

Such statements prove that both Ukraine and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau are on the right track. However, they don't signify that the country has already completed this path. Therefore, the subsequent steps should follow to achieve further victories. Just as victory over external adversaries is important, victory over corruption—an internal enemy—is equally significant.