“In the third quarter of 2015, 197 complaints were lodged: a 14% increase from the 172 complaints submitted in the first reporting quarter. In these two reporting quarters, we successfully closed 45 cases, with a direct financial impact of more than UAH 115 million,” said Algirdas Semeta, Business Ombudsman. He added that the number of complaints grew at an exponential rate – during 5 months of BOC’s operations, a total of 440 complaints was received.
Complaints have come to the BOC from all regions of Ukraine. As in the previous reporting quarter, a half of all complaints were lodged in Kyiv (85) and other cities in Kyiv Oblast (13). In descending order, complaints were also received from Dnipropetrovsk (18), Zaporizhzhia (10), Kharkiv (8), and Zakarpattia (7) Oblasts. 84% were lodged by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), 16% were submitted by large companies.
Overall, based on statistics of two consecutive reporting quarters, the “anti-ranking” of complainees has basically remained unchanged, with State Fiscal Service of Ukraine being the leader of the chart (42% of complaints). 12% of complainants challenged the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office. 9% of complaints was lodged against Municipal administrations (councils), 8% against Ministry of Internal Affairs
Throughout investigation process, BOC continuously communicated with complainants and sent them feedback questionnaires after closing each case. At the end of the reporting period, 76% of complainants reported to have been very satisfied with our work, other 24% remained satisfied.
The BOC uphold its commitment to signing Memoranda of Partnership and Cooperation with the key government agencies that have the strongest impact on Ukraine’s business climate—and the ones against whom the most complaints have been lodged. In the third quarter the Council signed a Memorandum of Partnership and Cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, providing for a special expert group to be set up under the Ministry, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Justice, to analyze each complaint against the Ministry that is submitted to the Council. Should this independent panel discover evidence of illegal actions on the part of a Ministry official, that official will be held liable. Right after the end of this reporting period, the Council signed similar Memo with the State Fiscal Service, the government agency subject to the most complaints during two reporting quarters.
Business Ombudsman also continued his working visit schedule, traveling to Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Odesa Oblasts, where he met with both business and government representatives.
Deputy business ombudsmen Tetyana Korotka and Iaroslav Gregirchak also presented systemic recommendations of the Council titled “Problems with Administering Business Tax in Ukraine” and “Problematic Issues in the Area of Cross-Border Trading in Ukraine”. In the next reporting quarter, the BOC experts will produce systemic reports on employing mechanism of criminal prosecution to inflict pressure on business and on the behavior of state monopolies.
The report and systemic recommendations are available here: https://boi.org.ua/en/reports/