Senior Ukrainian government minister arrested on suspicion of embezzlement

Image of man handcuffed. Credit: ronstik/Shutterstock.com

Vasyl Lozynkiy, a senior Ukrainian government minister was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement.

 

As revealed in a press release, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) arrested a senior government minister on Saturday, January 22. Vasyl Lozynkiy, the Deputy Minister of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure has been accused of embezzlement.

As a result, an internal audit has been launched by the Ministry of Defence into allegations that Lozynkiy allegedly signed a contract at grossly inflated prices.

The minister’s dismissal and arrest were also announced on the Telegram channel of Denys Shmygal, the Ukrainian Prime Minister. Lozynkiy had been in office since taking the post in May 2020.

According to the NABU, Lozynkiy “received $400,000 to facilitate the conclusion of contracts for the purchase of equipment and generators at inflated prices”. Following Russia’s recent strikes against the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, the country faces power shortages, leaving generators in huge demand.

Ukraine is currently gripped by a massive corruption scandal with the Ministry of Defence denying allegations this Sunday 22 that when signing a recent contract it grossly inflated the prices.

On Saturday, articles appeared on the ZN.UA news website claiming that the ministry had signed a contract at prices “two to three times higher” than the current rates for basic foodstuffs. They gave the example of eggs being contracted at a price of $0.46, when they retail in the shops for around $0.19.

Another example was potatoes, which the outlet claimed had been contracted at more than double the retail price. The news website estimated the value of the ministry contract at 13 billion hryvnia ( more than $350 million).

These accusations are false claimed the Ministry of Defence, while assuring that the relevant investigation would take place. It “purchases the relevant products in accordance with the procedure established by the law”, their response explained, adding that when signing contracts, ‘controls are carried out’.

The ministry was interested to find out exactly how the contents of the contract became known, pointing out that sharing such information “harms the interests of defence during a sensitive period”, as reported by lemonde.fr.

“If violations in the activities of defence ministry officials are detected, they will be held accountable in accordance with current law,” the ministry said, referring to an emergency meeting called for today, Monday 23, with Oleksiy Reznikov, the Defence Minister.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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