Tainted judge Vovk hides from NABU for second time
Controversial judge Pavlo Vovk hid from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) on Feb. 16, refusing for a second time to be brought to a bail hearing in a corruption case against him.
Earlier, Vovk ignored a ruling by the High Anti-Corruption Court that authorized the NABU to bring him to the previous bail hearing by force on Feb. 8.
Vovk, head of the Kyiv District Administrative Court, faces charges of organized crime, abuse of power, bribery and unlawful interference with government officials. Vovk denies the accusations.
Anti-corruption activists and legal observers have accused the country’s entire law enforcement system of sabotaging the Vovk case because of the judge’s political connections.
Vovk said on Facebook on Feb. 8 he believed the warrant to bring him to court to be unlawful and was not going to comply with it.
NABU failed to find Vovk in his office or his home on Feb. 8 and Feb. 16.
Vovk himself wrote on Facebook that he was not hiding and claimed that he was in his office.
The NABU has asked Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to authorize an arrest warrant for Vovk for months but she refused to do so. The Prosecutor General’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
Vovk has ignored the NABU summonses sent to the Kyiv District Administrative Court’s address for several months.
The High Anti-Corruption Court has tried to consider bail for Vovk several times, but he never showed up to the hearings.
Even if Venediktova authorized the arrest of Vovk, the warrant would also need the approval of the discredited High Council of Justice, the judiciary’s highest governing body. The council is unlikely to authorize Vovk’s arrest.
In September, the High Council of Justice unanimously refused to suspend Vovk and other judges implicated in his case.
The council’s members are also implicated in the Vovk case. In wiretapped conversations released by the NABU, Vovk mentioned the involvement of Andrii Ovsiienko, head of the High Council of Justice, as well as council members Oleh Prudyvus, Pavlo Grechkivsky, Viktor Hryshchuk and Mykola Khudyk in his alleged bargains with the council.
The council members did not respond to requests for comment.