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It is all gas meter’s fault: a criminal proceeding finally terminated

25.09.2020

Complainee: Main Department of the National Police in Kyiv region (MD NP)

Complaint in brief: The Council received a complaint from two manufacturers of building structures. The companies whose production was located in the same territory complained about a law enforcement agency pressure.
Following the PJSC Kyivoblgaz’s motion, the law enforcement agency had registered a criminal proceeding against the enterprises under which a pre-trial investigation was taking place. It turned out that when one company called the gas distribution network operator to install a new gas meter, the latter detected a malfunction in the old device and drew up a report concerning this violation. Then Kyivoblgaz decided to recalculate the consumed gas, and, as a result, it imposed a debt of more than UAH 47 mn on  the complainant. After  the examination, the company ascertained that the meter failed due to unqualified actions of the PJSC Kyivoblgaz employees that led to its breakdown.
In turn, the gas distribution network accused the company of deliberately changing meter settings and thus underestimating gas consumption. At the same time, the position of PJSC Kyivoblgaz was refuted in court and debt existence was not confirmed either.
Within the criminal proceeding, the pressure of law enforcement officers continued despite the court decision. The investigators conducted searches and seized the companies’ property. For that reason, the enterprises could not properly function. There was also a risk of a complete cessation of gas supply to the enterprise. At this stage, the Business Ombudsman Council commenced the case consideration.

Actions taken: The investigator of the Council supported the complainants' position and acknowledged the complaint as substantiated. The Council appealed to the MD NP and recommended to terminate the criminal proceeding in the case of the manufacturer of building structures due to the absence of a crime. Moreover, the Council drew the attention of police officers to the court's decision, which was also on the complainants' side. In terms of the Memorandum of Partnership and Cooperation between the Business Ombudsman Council and the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Council raised the complaint at the meeting of relevant expert groups with participation of law enforcement agencies.

Results achieved: Thanks to effective communication of the Council, the MD NP terminated the criminal proceeding in the complainants' case. The enterprises resumed normal operation. The case was successfully closed.