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Law enforcer gets penalized for ineffective case investigation 

27.08.2019

Subject of complaint: The Main Department of the National Police in Zaporozhzhia Oblast (Zaporizhzhia National Police) 

Complaint in brief: The Council received a complaint about an ineffective pre-trial criminal investigation from a garage co-operative owner in Zaporizhzhia.

According to the Complainant, the garage cooperative, the market value of which amounts to UAH 8 mn, has been a sweet spot for many people since early 90’s. In general, the owner appealed to law enforcers for three dozen times - one attempted to takeover the cooperative.

And so, in early 2018, there was an episode mentioned in the criminal case. On a cold Sunday morning, the owner of the cooperative was called and informed that the complex had been taken over by raiders. Having arrived at the scene, he saw that the central entrance to the area had been welded, the side gates broken, and a box office booth was put up near them for those wishing to enter the cooperative. According to the Complainant, a few armed men in black uniform were on guard near the blocked administrative building. As the owner approached them, he was greeted with a stream of obscenities and threats of murder. The brawl began. One of the attackers took out a gun. 

At this moment, a police patrol arrived. Weapons were hidden, but curses and threats did not stop. When one started looking for the watchman, it turned out the raiders threatening with a weapon had locked him in the pantry the night before. He was kept there until morning, while all the assembly and dismantling works were carried out on the territory of the cooperative.

The Complainant insisted the documents presented by new owners to police officers were forged. Based on the Complainant’s application, the National Police initiated an investigation into an unauthorized seizure of property Meanwhile, the garage cooperative operated for the benefit of the new owners. 

However, the investigation appeared to be ineffective. The company complained there was no progress in the case at all. Numerous requests were formally replied to. When almost a year passed, the company turned to the Business Ombudsman Council for help.

Actions taken: Since the early days of the complaint receipt, the investigator established regular communication with the investigative department of the Zaporozhzhia Oblast police.

To ensure the outcome, the Council addressed Zaporizhzhia National Police and the Prosecutor's Office in Zaporizhzhia Oblast in writing regarding law enforcers misconduct.

Result achieved: The Regional Prosecutor's Office responded to the Council's request unprecedentedly quickly and within a few days reported that a decision had been made to punish the head of the local Prosecutor's Office by stripping him of his personal bonus.

The Council had been considering the complaint for nearly four months. During this time, the complaint was the subject of consideration of the Central Investigative Department of the National Police of Ukraine. The national Police top management of one of Zaporizhzhia city districts received an official warning of ineffective pre-trial investigation of criminal proceedings and the investigator received corresponding instructions. Although no final procedural decision has been made yet, the Council stays in touch with the Complainant and hopes that, after joint efforts made, this story will logically end in favor of the bona fide property owners.