Ukrainian Oleksii Geiko wants the world to know his country is working hard to break from the systemic corruption of the past. As one of several investigators arresting government figures suspected of corruption and freezing their assets, he is part of the change.
Recent court-ordered arrests of corrupt officials signal an end to tolerance of corruption. In 2014, Transparency International ranked Ukraine among the lowest-performing countries — 142 out of 175 — in terms of perceived corruption of its public sector. (Only 4 percent of Ukrainians thought their government was effective in fighting corruption.)
Geiko, who lives in Kyiv and has a background in investigation, works in Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, established a year ago to investigate alleged misconduct by officials. He and his colleagues, who were selected through a competitive process, are not the only signal that Ukraine is serious about anti-corruption. The creation of the bureau was accompanied by numerous other reforms during the past year, including these:
- A new patrol police force made up of fresh recruits trained in Western-style enforcement techniques.
- A requirement that all property be registered online.
- A requirement that all government contracts be made public through an online procurement database.
Several investigators from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau traveled to the United States in December 2015 for a three-week program on new approaches to their work. The Ukrainians learned practical methods to detect, investigate and prosecute corruption. They met with U.S. journalists to discuss the role of the media in uncovering corruption. Government investigators and prosecutors across the U.S. talked with them about using interviews and internal audits to stem corruption and conducting investigations to gather evidence before an arrest.
The training, coupled with the legislative framework Ukraine recently implemented that gives investigators better tools, empowers Geiko’s bureau to work toward eliminating corruption.
“I’m doing everything on my end to help accelerate the pace of these reforms and make sure the results are noticeable,” said Fedir Oliinyk, another Ukrainian investigator. He said he looks forward to using new tactics he learned in the U.S. in Ukraine.
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