: Corruption fight intensifies in Ukraine as several top officials accused of embezzlement
Crime19:18 Jul. 18, 2016
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Corruption fight intensifies in Ukraine as several top officials accused of embezzlement

Dozens of bribe cases come up in last several weeks

Two high-level Ukrainian officials became the latest victims of Ukraine's fight against corruption. Sergiy Pereloma, vice-chairman of Naftogaz has been charged with embezzlement of almost 10 million US dollars while buying gas at an inflated price. Svyatoslav Protas - chief public health physician of Ukraine is accused of taking a bribe – more than 16 thousand US dollars. Other corruption suspects include ex-deputy chairman of National bank of Ukraine Oleksiy Tkachenko and his colleague, who are accused of stealing almost 100 million US dollars at the time of the suspected crime. All these and dozens of other cases have come up in the last several weeks.

Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of Anti-Corruption Center NGO: "Why do we see so much work done by anti-corruption bureau during the last two weeks? Because the bureau has been working for half a year. During this time they were preparing. It wasn't visible: documents, analysis, and covert surveillance. Now those first cases, which were launched back in December, come to public view: arrests, detainments, searches. I mean, the time, when our work was invisible, has passed. Now you can see it."

Read also Liechtenstein unfreezes assets of Ukrainian judge suspected of corruption

Anti-corruption cases can be very tricky and take a lot of efforts to be finished. Sometimes the law enforcement structures get in the way of each other.

Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of Anti-Corruption Center NGO: "This is not bad, not bad when law-enforcement authorities compete with each other. It is bad when this competition harms the end result – imprisonment of corrupted officials. There is a serious problem with Prosecutor-General's office. When they arrest a high-ranking official – they directly infringe the law. This is the jurisdiction of an anti-corruption bureau. The last example is the case of deputy minister Vasylyshyn. What does it mean – the court will declare all the evidence of Kyiv prosecution office illegally gathered and as thus – invalid."

Read also Deputy Health Minister arrested, charged with building up bribe vertical

The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine was created in April 2015 as a part of an anti-corruption reform. Since then there was a number of conflicts between the new bureau, the Security Service, and the General Prosecutor office. Anti-corruption bureau accuses the Security Service and General Prosecutor office of violating the principles of jurisdiction. If the case is investigated by wrong authority, the found evidence will be considered invalid.

This is exactly what happened with the case of Vyshgorod mayor Oleksiy Momot. He was detained in April by Security Service of Ukraine and Kyiv region prosecutor office while accepting a bribe of €1 million. Momot was released on bail of UAH 5 million (0 000). Later Kyiv appeal court cancelled the detention and bail and reinstated Momot in office because Kyiv region prosecutor office did not have the right to investigate the case. 

 

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