Chairman of the Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine Yurii Vitrenko said that the order of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), which was issued to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to eliminate violations of Article 26 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Prevention of Corruption" when appointing the Chairman of the Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, was illegal, and the findings of the National Agency testify to a typical example of "selective justice" and bias, the press service reports.
He argues his position as follows.
First, “for the application of the restrictions provided for by law, it is a prerequisite for an official to have the appropriate powers to prepare or participate in the preparation of decisions regarding the relevant entity. I did not have such authority over Naftogaz. I will also add that the Ministry of Energy was not the governing body of the company, but the Cabinet of Ministers acted like such a body. At the same time, as an acting Minister, I was not a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, and, accordingly, did not vote when making decisions by the Cabinet of Ministers. Also, I was not a leader or a member of NEURC,” Yurii Vitrenko comments.
Secondly, the conclusions of the NACP contradict not only the letter of the law but also its spirit. After all, the meaning of the restrictions set out in the Law of Ukraine "On the Prevention of Corruption" is that officials do not provide preferences to private law individuals with the expectation of further employment or other illegal benefits from this legal entity. At the same time, in the case of Yurii Vitrenko, the decision on the appointment was made by a collegial body – the Government of Ukraine.
“The decision on my appointment was made by the Cabinet, so it’s generally absurd in such a situation to say that this person “thanked” me for my activities in the interests of a person of private law by hiring me,” Vitrenko notes.
Besides, such actions of the NACP can be called a typical example of “selective justice”, since they contradict not only the law but also the established legal practice. Indeed, in 2017-2020, when appointing responsible officials of ministries to the boards and supervisory boards of state energy and infrastructure companies, the agency did not see any risks and violations.
One of such examples is the lack of reaction of the National Agency upon the appointment of Yevhen Kravtsov as the chairman of the board of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia, who previously served as First Deputy Minister of Infrastructure. At the same time, this central executive body, in contrast to the Ministry of Energy, carried out the functions of managing this joint-stock company and was endowed with the appropriate powers.
The absence of violations of the norms of the law in the situation with the appointment of Yurii Vitrenko is also confirmed by the scientific and legal opinion of the leading experts in the field of law of the Institute of State and Law named after Koretskyi. The conclusions say that the conclusion of an employment contract with Yurii Vitrenko for the position of chairman of the board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine does not fall under the anti-corruption restrictions established in paragraph 1 of part one of Article 26 of the Law of Ukraine "On Preventing Corruption".
“I always proceed from the principle of the rule of law, so I hope that in court we will be able to establish whose legal position is more justified,” summed up the Chairman of the Board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine.
To recap, the NACP said that the appointment of Vitrenko as the head of Naftogaz was illegal and should be cancelled.
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