Zelenskyy sacks 11 ministers and officials as part of anti-corruption restructuring

A charismatic and prominent member of Zelensky’s team, he has garnered a sizable following on social media since the war began and was responsible for rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in Russia’s winter bombing raids.

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But he faced charges of abusing foreign aid after a Ukrainian media outlet reported in October that he was driving a new Chevrolet Tahoe SUV donated by General Motors for humanitarian evacuations.

He admitted using the vehicle for work trips and said he had asked the State Security Service to take it to the frontline areas for its intended purpose.

The National Corruption Prevention Agency said last month it was opening a further investigation after reports that Tymoshenko was using a $140,000 Porsche.

Viacheslav Shapovalov, a deputy defense minister, also left days after Ukrainian media released a procurement contract showing his office was paying two to three times the market price for basic necessities for the army.

The report, released on Saturday, claimed the contract proved that individuals at the ministry were plotting with food suppliers to cheat the army out of millions of dollars.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in a social media post that the allegations against Shapovalov were “baseless and unfounded,” but hailed his resignation as “a demonstration that defense interests trump any cabinet position.”

Ukraine’s ruling party on Tuesday presented a draft law aimed at increasing transparency in defense procurement.

Anastasia Radina, chair of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee, said the bill would make it mandatory for the prices paid for products and services provided to the army to be published on the state procurement website.

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Radina, a member of Zelenskyi’s Servant of the People party, said the requirement will not be introduced for arms purchases. “We are obliged to ensure procurement transparency for the Bundeswehr, under which such scandals simply do not arise. Can this be done in a way that does not expose customers and suppliers to additional risks? Yes,” she said.

The law has been submitted to Parliament for discussion and must be approved in this chamber by three votes before it is signed by the President.

Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Infrastructure, was fired on Sunday after being arrested by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. He is accused of taking $400,000 ($567,000) in bribes for fixing an inflated generator procurement contract.

A recent spate of corruption allegations comes at a sensitive time for Zelenskyy. His government is heavily dependent on Western financial and military aid. Ukrainian diplomats often admit to worrying about the dwindling public opinion in donor countries. Russian propaganda has often tried to argue that such support is in vain.

Zelensky’s crackdown on suspected bribery also has domestic implications. He came to power in 2019 on a largely anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform.

The EU cited progress in fighting corruption as justification for granting Ukraine candidate status last year.

Oleksandr Novikov, the head of the agency investigating Tymoshenko’s car penchant, told Ukrainian local media last month that the investigation was partly prompted by Western demands for transparency in exchange for aid.

The Telegraph, London

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/a-porsche-and-spanish-holidays-zelensky-fires-11-ministers-and-officials-in-anti-corruption-shake-up-20230125-p5cf9z.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Zelenskyy sacks 11 ministers and officials as part of anti-corruption restructuring

Callan Tansill

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