Business Ombudsman Council Launches Operations

The Business Ombudsman Council (BOC) has opened its doors to the business community in Ukraine, willing to file a complaint about the unjust treatment by the state or municipal authorities, state-owned or controlled companies, or their officials.
As of 19 May 2015, businesses and individuals can submit complaints to the BOC, online through the Council’s official website www.boi.org.ua or by mail to the Council’s electronic or postal address. The Business Ombudsman will also be able to initiate investigations if information about suspected business malpractice is received from other sources, including the press. 
“We are now fully equipped to start working and we are ready to review complaints from businesses in Ukraine,” says Algirdas Semeta, the newly appointed Business Ombudsman for Ukraine. “With experience in law, auditing and risk management, our professional team is in a position to thoroughly investigate each matter to help Ukrainian entrepreneurs do business in a fair and transparent environment.”
The Business Ombudsman will also prepare recommendations for government agencies and use his authority to ensure such agencies properly implement recommendations in a timely manner. 
Where the BOC finds systematic or repeated failure on the part of certain agencies to address issues that negatively affect business in Ukraine, the Business Ombudsman is in a position to bring such issues to the attention of the public, either through periodic BOC reports published on the Council’s website, or through the press.
The BOC will not investigate complaints or disputes arising in private business-to-business relations or matters that involve court or arbitration proceedings or regarding which a court, arbitration panel or similar body has made a ruling.
As part of its mandate, the Business Ombudsman Council will report to the public on an ongoing basis about the progress in improving the business climate and combating corruption. The BOC will also publish quarterly and annual reports containing statistics about the volume and nature of complaints received, the number of investigations conducted, summaries of the most important investigations and their outcomes, and summaries of key areas that were the subject of complaints during the reporting period.
The Business Ombudsman Council is a consultative and advisory body of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (Resolution №691 dated 26 November 2014 and Memorandum of Understanding re the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative dated 12 May 2014).  Its mandate is to contribute to the transparency of the state, regional and local authorities, as well as state-owned and controlled companies and to help prevent corruption and other violations of the legitimate rights of businesses.
The BOC is funded through the Multi-donor Account for Ukraine set up at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2014. The donors of the Multi-donor Account for Ukraine include Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Setting up the BOC was jointly agreed by the Ukrainian Government, the EBRD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, the European Business Association, the Federation of Ukrainian Employers, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

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