Dismissed deputy defense minister responsible for army logistics is charged

1 February, 07:15 PM
Former Deputy Defense Minister suspected of purchasing low-quality equipment for the military (Photo:State Bureau of Investigation)

Former Deputy Defense Minister suspected of purchasing low-quality equipment for the military (Photo:State Bureau of Investigation)

The State Bureau of Investigation has charged the dismissed deputy minister of defense who was responsible for logistics of the Armed Forces, the agency's press service reported on Feb. 1.

Allegedly, the ex-deputy minister lobbied for contracts for the supply of food for the military at inflated prices, as well as the purchase of low-quality bulletproof vests, helmets, clothing and other items for the military worth more than UAH 1 billion ($27.1 million). The contracts were concluded with full prepayment.

Video of day

According to law enforcement, the civil servant was aware of the low-quality products and pressured his subordinates to accept the products into warehouses and organize additional inspections of armor plates that failed the first tests.

At the same time, he ignored the appeal of the Command of the Logistics Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which called for "proper acceptance control of product quality."

The former official is suspected of obstructing the lawful activities of the Armed Forces and other military formations (part 1 of Article 114-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and faces up to 15 years in prison.

As part of the criminal case, the SBI is conducting 17 searches at various addresses and has already found large amounts of cash and "many other things that may be evidence in the case."

Earlier, NV’s sister outlet Ukrainska Pravda wrote, citing sources in law enforcement, that the Prosecutor General's Office had charged three people involved in the scandal over the purchase of food for the Armed Forces.

The publication’s sources said that the deputy director of the public procurement department, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, was suspected of embezzlement of public funds in the amount of UAH 107,796,050 ($2.9 million) and of providing low-quality bulletproof vests (5,700 items) to Armed Forces units.

Former Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov was charged with illegal actions that resulted in the failure to provide individual units of the Armed Forces with personal protective equipment worth more than UAH 1 billion ($27.1 million). Former deputy director of the state enterprise Promoboronexport Volodymyr Tereshchenko, who is now deputy head of the Department for Coordination of Foreign Economic Activity of the Ministry of Defense, was charged with misappropriation of state funds in the amount of $1.34 million "by means of abuse and forgery," UP writes.

Vyacheslav Shapovalov resigned amid the procurement scandal. The head of the Defense Ministry's department in charge of procurement, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, was also fired.

Scandal with food procurement for the Armed Forces: What we know

On Jan. 21, the founder of the Nashi Hroshi investigative journalism project, Yuriy Nikolov, said in an article on ZN.ua that the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine buys food for the military at prices two to three times more expensive than prices in Kyiv stores after he compared some items to prices in the Silpo supermarket. The journalist cited documents received from a "source in the Armed Forces."

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that the data in the publication "is being disseminated with signs of deliberate manipulation, and is misleading." Minister Oleksii Reznikov called the scandal an attempt to undermine confidence in the leadership of the department.

Later, the President's Office announced an inspection. The Defense Ministry also promises an internal audit and is preparing materials for the SBU to investigate "deliberately false information that harms the interests of defense in a special period."

The supplier company Active Company — with which the Ministry of Defense has a contract and which Nikolov suggests in his article is "most likely a 'shell company'” — has claimed Nikolov’s article was "deliberate manipulation".

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine reported that together with the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, it is investigating possible abuses by the Defense Ministry in the purchase of food for the military. The investigation is checking purchases worth more than UAH 13 billion ($352 million).

Minister Reznikov admitted to MPs from the relevant committees that many inaccuracies were indeed found in the contracts and they are now being reviewed. The contracts for military food for 2023 are not yet in effect.

On Jan. 31, the Defense Minister said that the department would regain control over procurement for the army, taking into account the restrictions of martial law.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news