The Military prosecutor’s office investigates Defense Ministry officials



Article by: Marichka Naboka
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – The Military Prosecutor’s Office investigates the activities of former Defense Ministry officials, Ukrainian Defense Industry employees, Ukrainian Special Export employees and officials from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Office promises to put an end to the cases that deal with embezzlement of state funds and undermining the country’s defense potential. Meanwhile political experts are doubtful whether they will go further than simply making resonant statements.

Former Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces officials undermined Ukraine’s defense capabilities, stated the head Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios. He reported that only within the last four years, over 600 amendments to legislative acts were made, which de facto ruined the integral system of Armed Forces functioning. Therefore, according to Matios, the activities of each former Minister of Defense and head of the General Headquarters will be verified.

“The Military Prosecutor Office drew up criminal charges of inappropriate conduct of duty by Defense Ministry and Armed Forces General Headquarters leading officials, who signed these documents, which led to the fact that at the moment of Crimea’s annex we had six brigades on paper, out of which we managed to gather 400 people,” Matios said.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office investigates the activity of former Defense Ministers of Ukraine Volodymyr Shkidchenko, Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, Anatoly Hrytsenko, Yury Yekhanurov, Mykhaylo Yezhel, Dmytro Salamatin, Pavlo Lebedev. The matter of the investigation is their activity or lack thereof.

“We are evaluating all actions on part of Ministers who signed the orders to appropriate legislative bodies, those who made decisions thus destroying the system of strict discipline in the Armed Forces, undermined defense capabilities, especially by means of writing off as surplus the property of military weaponry, equipment etc.,” the head Military Prosecutor noted.

According to Matios, radio electronic fighter units, engineering military units were liquidated in the Ukrainian army, the system of command of military aviation was ruined, and the personnel and arsenal ended far from the permanent military unit bases.

The office of the Prosecutor opens an investigation of all members of the Defense Ministry tender committee

The office of the Military Prosecutor opened criminal cases on all members of the tender committee of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for abuse of power. According to the Prosecutor, they illegally held tenders in May and June of this year. These tenders resulted in the purchase of oil and fuel materials for the rear provisions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at increased prices. So far the sum of losses constitutes over 4 million UAH, however, Matios is convinced that the number would grow.

Besides, as the Military Prosecutor assured, the investigation of re-appropriation and misspending state funds in especially high amounts by Ukrainian Special Export officials is almost finished.

“Believe me, the state and the public will find out about their ‘heroes.’ Those who sold bullets, systems of rapid fire, signed such and such documents which made our army and Armed Forces helpless. Those who sold systems for artillery detection,” the Prosecutor assured.

Declarations or actions? 

The people mentioned in the cases frequently avoid investigation, go in for treatment or leave the country. The resonant claims on part of the politicians are made only for resonance and political dividends, says political expert Anatoly Oktystiuk.

“Lustration in the Armed Forces system and law enforcement bodies does not go further than statements on part of politicians and parliament members. The electoral campaign continues. To increase political ratings, government representatives are trying to achieve resonance. However, those who are culpable for the shootings in Maidan have not even been punished yet. This issue is very important, however it is more populist than effective in the current conditions. On the other hand, I am afraid of this becoming a witch hunt,” says the political expert.

Meanwhile on Tuesday the Verkhovna Rada allowed in absentia condemnation and confiscation of property belonging to people who are wanted internationally for crimes against Ukraine. The members of the Parliament also approved the first reading of the law on the creation of the Anti-corruption bureau which is to investigate corruption among Ministers, members of the Parliament, state officials, judges, higher military officers etc. The Verkhovna Rada also approved the first reading of another three governmental anti-corruption projects. One of them is on counteraction of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

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