The fight against corruption, one way or another, was mentioned in the program of almost every candidate for the presidential office. Even the newly-elected head of the state labeled this problem as one of the largest along with the war. However, today, when Zelensky is taking his first steps and giving away key posts, bribers seem to decide that the “window of opportunity” is open. We will tell you about the most indicative arrests of corrupt officials for the period of power’s transition.
The run-off was held on April 21st. In fact, since this date, the society has started to perceive the winner as a new head of the state, despite the fact that the inauguration took place on May 20. At the same time, it turns out that the unsteady period of power transfer, the ping-pong of political trolling and the first two weeks of the president-elect are a fairly convenient period for those who plan to illegally replenish their budget. About the regions of the country that are the most vulnerable to corruption – through the detention of local politicians, officials, and bureaucrats.
Kyiv region and Kyiv
In the capital, at the end of May, the military prosecutor’s office has arrested the employee of Kyivtranshaz for a bribe of 12 thousand dollars. It is noteworthy that initially, the “gift’s” cost was two thousand less, however, after some time the civil servant decided to increase the cost of his “services”. For this sum of money, he promised not to take measures and not to inform law enforcement officers of violations detected on the land plot.
Somewhat earlier, law enforcement officers arrested the head of the State Employment Service, who organized a criminal group that demanded and received funds for construction works’ contracts in the regional units of the institution. The total amount of funds received is more than 800 thousand hryvnias. According to the papers, the total amount of contracts amounted to 30 million hryvnias.
Two Ukrzaliznytsia officials have also sunk with the bribe. According to official information, civil workers demanded about 270 thousand UAH from a representative of one of the commercial structures. For this money, the perpetrators promised to conclude with the businessman an agreement on responsible storage of property. The perpetrators are now suspects.
However, it was not without the representatives of local authorities. This way, the acting head of the Department for Control over Protection of Cultural Heritage – the executive body of the Kyiv City Council, was caught with a bribe. He extorted 500 USD of unjustified bonuses for the facilitated process of obtaining the necessary documentation. Although the perpetrator promised to settle everything down with the department’s leadership in exchange for this sum, the investigation found out that in fact, the offender was planning just to obtain this sum fraudulently.
Then, the regional prosecutor’s office together with SBU detained deputy chairman of the Vasylkiv city council. In this case, the official demanded (and received) a bribe of 2.5 thousand dollars for the renewal of the state registration for five land plots located within the district.
The head of one of the departments of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration has been also caught up in bribery. He was detained while receiving 400 USD. According to the investigation, this was the sum official demanded from Zakarpattia resident for assistance in settling down the issue of re-registration of ownership right to a vehicle that belongs to a person with a disability. The official was busted directly at the workplace.
In mid-May, representatives of the SBU together with the local prosecutor detained deputy of the Cherkasy Regional Council on suspicion of receiving a bribe of 140 thousand dollars. As it became clear later, the deputy extorted money from the director of a construction company for assistance in settling down the issue of certain changes to the plan of the site’s area in order to transfer it further to the lease.
Cherkasy doctor also got busted on corruption. As they explained in the Security Service of Ukraine, a medical officer of the sick newborn care unit systematically demanded money from patients for the issuance of birth documents. The briber was arrested directly at her workplace when she was receiving another 5 thousand UAH from relatives of one of the infants.
Local officials also got “marked”. So employees of the SBU reported the detention of a director of one of the region’s municipal enterprises. According to the investigators, the perpetrator acted as an intermediary and demanded a bribe of 1,800 USD from a local. The official allegedly had to transfer this sum to the head of one of the police departments for the dismissal of the criminal proceedings. However, law enforcers detained an official at the stage of obtaining a part of the sum.
In addition, an inspector of local Division of the State Labor Service of Ukraine had also caught up in bribery. The official demanded 40 thousand UAH from the private entrepreneur for issuing a permit for the work of increased danger. The same as in the last case, the official was detained while receiving the first part of a bribe.
The state of corruption in Odesa is somewhat different from other regions. So, for example, on May 15, the State Investigation Bureau informed about the detention of the director of the municipal enterprise Parks of Odesa. He demanded 50 000 hryvnias from one of the public organizations for permission to hold the Hand Made festival in the central park of the city.
A few days later, in the same city of Odessa, the district police officer was detained. He tried to get a monthly “homage” from traders in the Arkadia-City shopping mall. As reported by law enforcement agencies, the officer demanded five hundred dollars a month for two kiosks that were selling tobacco products. The money was supposed to protect the entrepreneur from the troubles with law enforcement officers.
Recently, director of the communal enterprise Odesa Zoological Park Ihor Belyakov, the head of the department for preparation and support of the documentation of the Municipal Service of the Communal Property of the department of communal property of the Odessa City Council Natalia Voronina and another official of the communal property department of the Odesa City Council were busted for corruption. The officials promised to allocate to a local businessman non-residential premises that belong to the zoo for three thousand dollars. The businessman planned to open a pet shop in this building.
At the same time, local media reported on an investigation into the head of the legal department of the Odesa City Council Iryna Popovska. According to the media, the Security Service of Ukraine, together with NABU became interested in the fact that Odesa’s city hall bought at an elevated price the land of the former Zastava-2 airfield.
By the way, the ex-head of the Odesa Regional State Administration Mikheil Saakashvili recently reported about corruption schemes with the participation of representatives of the Odesa city hall, noting that Mayor Hennadii Trukhanov regularly sent “payoffs” to the Presidential Administration, thus laundering the money.
In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine caught on the bribe head of one of the village councils Saratsky district of Odesa region. The official demanded 10,000 dollars from the local businessman and a positive decision on the allocation of land for lease with the prospect of privatization.
This time, law enforcement officers managed to detain the head of the monitoring of income and reporting systems of the Kharkiv State Fiscal Service. According to the State Bureau of Investigations, the official demanded 45 thousand hryvnias from a local entrepreneur. This money allegedly had to grant “immunity” from penalties and protect the businessman from problems his enterprise in the field of retail. Arn official was arrested immediately after receiving money.
In this region, law enforcement agencies detained the head of State Architectural and Construction Inspection. He demanded from one of the entrepreneurs a bribe of 400 thousand UAH for the absence of obstacles in construction, he also guaranteed a zero number of inspections at the facility. The upper mentioned money was transferred to the account of the intermediary company, however, the law enforcement officers still managed to detain the official and prove his guilt.
The local prosecutor’s office confirmed the fact of extortion of funds by the chairman of one of the inter-district medical and social expert commissions of the region. The commission’s head demanded a bribe of UAH 3,000 from a person with special physical needs for prolonging his disabled status.
In addition, almost at the same time, law enforcement officers detained officials from the Trostyanets District Enforcement Service, who demanded a bribe from a person who had a debt for failure to pay child support. As it was reported, the debtor was ready to pay the full amount, but the official stressed the need to facilitate the lifting of restrictions on driving and going abroad for an “additional” 5 thousand UAH.
In Sumy region, they will also judge the deputy head of the department of management of one of the State Audit Offices. The official demanded 3,000 UAH and coupons for 80 liters of fuel from the director of one of the enterprises. Such a “reward” was supposed to “help” the civil servant after the audit not to include in the document information about allegedly found violations.
They can boast with corruption in city councils of Lviv region as well. Recently, the head of the land resources, architecture and urban development department from one of the city councils of the region was arrested there. What exactly – it is not yet revealed. In the meantime, the official demanded 1,400 USD for helping to win the auction for renting land and signing documentation for the construction of architectural forms. The official was arrested while receiving the first half of the bribe.
In Ternopil region, the local prosecutor’s office managed to arrest for bribery the Deputy Mayor, along with his partner-mediator. According to official comment, the official, knowing about the intentions of a businessman to install several billboards in the city, decided to assist in the receipt of a “positive decision” at the executive committee of the city council for 800 USD. The first part of the money was received by the deputy mayor in April, and during the transfer of the second part he “met” with the law enforcement officers.
According to the State Bureau of Investigation, law enforcement officers detained a deputy of the Chernihiv City Council slash chairman of the Standing Committee on Architecture, Construction and Regulation of Land Relations, together with his accomplice, the director of the communal enterprise Chernigivbudinvest. As the investigation emphasizes, these two men, under a preliminary agreement, demanded a bribe of fifty thousand dollars from the entrepreneur for the signing of a contract on the allocation of sublease of land, where he planned to build a residential building. Moreover, in case of non-payment, the officials threatened the entrepreneur with problems with the Security Service of Ukraine. However, real problems awaited the bribe-takers, when they were getting the first part of the money.
The head of the Korosten Regional State Administration, in collusion with the head of one of the departments and chairman of the village council, demanded 1,500 USD from the entrepreneur for the allocation of two land plots. According to law enforcement officers, in case of refusal, the official threatened the entrepreneur with a negative decision of the village council. All the accomplices were arrested during the transfer of the second part of the bribe.
The question in the headline is actually ironic. After all, right after the elections (as, indeed, prior to them), the heads were raised by corrupt officials almost in each region, regardless of whether they are in center, south, or west of the country. The biggest problems with bribes face city councils of Kyiv, Odesa, and Chernihiv. In the majority of cases, the bribe has to “settle down” land issues and business permits. Therefore, the new authorities really have something to think about and somebody to put behind the bars.
By Artur Panko