Arsen Avakov: Ukrainian business should get additional protection. Appropriate legal initiatives will soon be submitted to the parliament
On November 8, 2017, the Ukrainian Government approved a bill that will introduce a clear procedure for the relationship between business, law enforcement bodies, and regulatory authorities. According to the Minister of Internal Affairs, the purpose of this law is to establish a clear and transparent procedure for obtaining a warrant and for conducting inspections and investigation against a business enterprise or entrepreneur.
"As for now, it takes only 10-15 seconds to get a judge's permission to carry out investigative activities, whether it's a search, covert surveillance or wiretap. Think about it - only 10 to 15 seconds! The current legislation does not require from the judge to assess the sufficiency of reasons and arguments submitted by the law enforcement or supervisory bodies. Therefore, such decisions are usually taken almost automatically or, simply speaking, they are “churned out” by bundles on requests from the law enforcement officials", - noted Arsen Avakov.
The minister informed that the new bill proposes, in particular, to introduce a compulsory video and audio recording of the court session when an investigating magistrate decides to permit searches or other investigative actions. If such a decision will be made by a judge without video and audio recording, then it is considered invalid.
"We also propose a mandatory provision on the access of a lawyer to any stage of the search or other investigative actions. The bill also contains a mandatory provision which prohibits the seizure of originals of financial records and economic documentation, computers, servers and mobile phones during the search or other investigative actions. There is also an exhaustive list of exceptions from this provision directly in the text of the draft law", - said Arsen Avakov.
He added that the draft law also provides for mandatory audio and video recording of a search or other investigative action. Any evidence obtained in the course of such actions, but not recorded in the audio and video protocol will be considered invalid. This law will prohibit the reopening of the case with the same factual allegations by various law enforcement agencies in the absence of new circumstances or new information.
"We propose to create a commission that will consider complaints about improper inspections, searches or other investigative actions against business entities or illegal acts by law enforcement or supervisory bodies during such actions", - stated Arsen Avakov.
He added that the bill describes and regulates the applicant's right to receive confirmation that a criminal proceeding against his company is recorded in the official register. "The applicant's right to appeal against the inaction of the investigation and to request the determination of reasonable period of time for criminal proceedings will be a tool to prevent deliberate "dragging out” of the case", - stressed the Minister.
Separately, Arsen Avakov proposes to prohibit and introduce criminal responsibility for publication of materials from the site of the search or other investigative actions without permission of the investigator.
"I believe that it is very important to include this norm as an explicit provision of law. Now the conduct of investigative activities is very often not so much the attempt to reveal the truth, but a way of pressure on business and a tool for its discrediting by unscrupulous competitors", - said the Minister of Internal Affairs.
The fully agreed text of the bill, supported by the present at the meeting representative of the Office of the Business Ombudsman, will be submitted to the parliament within three days.
Arsen Avakov expressed hope that the deputies will consider the new bill before the New Year.
Department of communication of MIA-Ukraine