Deputy Minister of Ukraine Fired for Alleged Theft of $400,000 | Ukraine

Ukraine’s deputy infrastructure minister Vasyl Lozinskyi has been detained and dismissed from his post for alleged theft of $400,000 (£320,000) for the purchase of relief supplies, including generators, according to Ukrainian state investigators and prosecutors.

After the news came out, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, promised that the old ways of corruption would not return to Ukraine.

“I want this to be clear: there will be no return to what used to be, to the way different people were close to state institutions or those who spent their lives chasing a chair. [a state position] lived,” Zelensky said in his nightly speech on Sunday without specifically mentioning the matter.

Lozinskyi allegedly conspired with contractors to drive up the price of generators and pocketed part of the difference, Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities said. Other national and regional officials would also have been involved. In the summer, the Ukrainian government allocated 1.68 billion hryvnia (about £36.7 million) for goods and technology that could provide alternative sources of energy, water and heat to the population in winter.

The goods were bought to prepare Ukraine in case Russia attacked its energy infrastructure – which it has done regularly since September.

Lozinskyi was detained by anti-corruption investigators on Saturday. In a statement, they said they found $38,000 in cash in Lozinskyi’s office and published a photo of stacks of dollars and hryvnia bills. Lozinskyi was fired from the government on Sunday. He has not commented on the allegations.

Before the war, corruption scandals were an almost daily part of Ukrainian political life. The country was ranked 122 out of 180 by Transparency International in 2021, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The EU has made anti-corruption reforms one of the main conditions for Ukraine’s EU membership.

Since the war, there have been far fewer known cases of corruption as society focused on the war effort. But journalists have begun scrutinizing the elites again in recent months.

Pavlo Halimon, deputy head of Zelenskiy’s party — named after his TV show, Servant of the People — was also fired on Monday over corruption allegations, to which he has not commented. Ukrainian news site Ukrainska Pravda published an investigation on Monday morning into his purchase of real estate in Kiev for more than his stated funds. The head of Zelenskiy’s party, Davyd Arakhamia, called for an investigation into the matter and dismissed Hamilton, saying his actions were against the party’s values.

“If you are a [MP] and have a few million hryvnias extra, then you should help your country. This is your duty,’ Arakhamia said.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov was also in the spotlight this week after another Ukrainian publication, ZN.UA, published an investigation into food purchases by the defense ministry. It alleged that food contracts for the military were being blown up. But Reznikov has denied the claims and has pushed for a parliamentary committee to be set up to investigate. According to Reznikov, the price difference can be partly explained by deliveries to front-line areas and partly by different suppliers having different specialties.

Zelenskiy, who was elected with a promise to change the way Ukraine was run in 2019, also said in his late night speech on Sunday that there would be an announcement this week on the issue of corruption.

“This week is the time for the right decisions,” said Zelenskiy. “The decisions are already prepared. I don’t want to make them public at this point, but it will all be fair.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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