Ukraine’s SBU safety service mentioned on Saturday (Jan 27) it had uncovered a corruption scheme within the buy of arms by the nation’s army totalling the equal of about US$40 million.
The announcement of mass procurement fraud, confirmed by Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, can have an enormous resonance in a rustic beleaguered by Russia’s nearly two-year-old invasion.
The struggle to root out endemic corruption stays a serious challenge as Ukraine presses its bid to safe membership within the European Union.
The SBU mentioned an investigation had “uncovered officers of the Ministry of Defence and managers of arms provider Lviv Arsenal, who stole practically 1.5 billion hryvnias within the buy of shells”.
“In keeping with the investigation, former and present high-ranking officers of the Ministry of Defence and heads of affiliated corporations are concerned within the embezzlement.”
The embezzlement, it mentioned, concerned the acquisition of 100,000 mortar shells for the army.
The SBU mentioned a contract for the shells was clinched with Lviv Arsenal in August 2022 – six months into the battle – and fee was made prematurely, with some funds transferred overseas.
However no arms have been ever supplied, the assertion mentioned, with some funds then moved to different international accounts.
The assertion mentioned 5 people had been served “notices of suspicion” – the primary stage in Ukrainian authorized proceedings – each within the ministry and the arms provider. One suspect, it mentioned, was detained whereas making an attempt to cross the Ukrainian border.
Corruption inside the army has been a very delicate challenge in Ukraine because it tries to keep up wartime public morale and current its case to affix the 27-nation EU.
Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov was dismissed final September over varied corruption instances regardless of having fun with a strong status in representing Ukraine in its discussions with Western allies.
Though he was not alleged to have engaged personally in corruption, a number of instances hit the army beneath his stewardship, one for supplying troops with meals, one other over procuring appropriate clothes for servicemen.