Roman Nasirov, the Head of the State Fiscal Service. Photo: kmu.gov.ua
The Head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov is suspected in causing damage to the state in amount of UAH 2 bn ($ 73.7 mn). He is a suspect in the so-called gas case of the runaway oligarch and ex-MP Oleksandr Onyschenko. Just before detectives of Ukraine’s newly-created anti-corruption institute, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) came to Nasirov to hand him a suspicion notice on March 2, Nasirov was hospitalized.
The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) intends to ask the court to arrest Nasirov and to suspend him from work. He is suspected according to the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on the abuse of power resulting in grave consequences.
The investigators believe that Nasirov was taking unreasonable decisions to postpone a rental fee for the extraction of the natural resources. It helped Onyshchenko to implement his corruption schemes.
The case has been initiated these days because SAP received information that Nasirov is planning to escape somewhere abroad and that the possibility of elimination of the evidence of the case was high. As soon as the investigation was opened, Nasirov was hospitalized with an alleged heart attack..
According to the Head of SAP Roman Sivkiv, when the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) came to the hospital to hand the suspicion in the evening of March 2, first they were prevented from doing so because it was non-visiting time. However, the investigators managed to do their job.
Afterward, the Head of the Fiscal Service was transferred to the intensive care unit with the diagnosis “myocardial infarction.” Ten lawyers of Nasirov also came to the hospital on Thursday. They consider the actions of the investigators as illegal. Probably, the appealing to the time of handing the suspicion and detention will be the main line in his defense in the court.
The reliability of Nasirov’s diagnosis and the state of his health cause doubts. Usually society perceives sudden illnesses of politicians under suspicion of corruption as a manipulation.
Nasirov is involved in the gas case of Onyschenko
The episode with Nasirov is the part of the big gas case against Onyshchenko. The oligarch is suspected in organizing schemes of embezzlement during the extraction and sale of natural gas in terms of the cooperation agreements with state-owned Public Company Ukrgazvydobuvannya.
As reported by law enforcement, the losses of the state in this case amounted to approximately UAH 3 bn ($110.6 mn).
Onyshchenko denied any involvement and claimed that the case against him was intended to pressure him and to take away his business. Because of the risk of being arrested, he left the country in July 2016.
The episode with Nasirov concerns the period of November-December 2015, when the State Fiscal Service allowed Onyshchenko’s companies Has and Nadra Geocenter payment installments of UAH 1.3 bn ($47.9 mn) debt on rent payments.
According to Ekonomichna Pravda, a meeting of Nasirov and Onischenko took place before the decision of the Fiscal Service.
Nasirov also was involved in the installment tax payments of companies affiliated with Onyshchenko.
According to the SAP and NABU, the case against Nasirov is divided into 3 blocks. The first is about the people who were part of a criminal organization of Onyshchenko. The second is about the employees of Ukrgazvydobuvannya with the help of whom the manipulation with the gas became possible. The third concerns officials of fiscal services, who took decisions on the postponement of rent payments
The most promising and dangerous case of NABU
This investigation of the NABU, which involves the hitherto inviolable Fiscal Service, might bring about the investigation of other major anti-corruption cases, as it touches the interests of many corrupt officials in Ukraine. On the other hand, the case might cause trouble for the NABU itself for the same reason.
According to the sources of Liga.net, now the Parliament might face serious changes, as the case against the Head of the Fiscal Service breaks the basics of the old corrupt system.
NABU now expects pressure from many sides.
However, corrupt courts might be an obstacle standing in the way to impartial investigations. In this situation, the creation of the special Anti-Corruption court, provided by the judicial reform, is essential to move forward. However, the decision on its creation is so far blocked.
So far among the most notable cases initiated by NABU in 2016 were:
- the detention of the judge of Malinovsky District Court of Odesa Oleksiy Buran, who started to shoot at the NABU detectives during his detention;
- the gas case of Oleksandr Onyshchenko;
- the black ledgers of the Party of Regions, the party of the disgraced ex-president Viktor Yanukovych;
- employees of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine who were arrested on bribery.
As liga.net writes, NABU is the last truly independent anti-corruption body in Ukraine. The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) and SAP are under pressure from the authorities. The interests of President Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are clear: criminal proceedings are opened against their people – Ihor Kononenko, Mykola Martynenko and many other notorious figures. Now Nasirov was added to the list.
The government has two ways to influence the NABU – to dismiss its head Artem Sytnyk or to discredit the entire agency. Dismissing Sytnyk is possible only according to the results of an audit. The law demands to hold it by three independent experts delegated by the president, the government and the parliament.
The experts already called this audit an honesty test for Poroshenko and his coalition allies.