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Ukraine conducts a series of anti-corruption searches against administrations and personalities


A week after a string of senior officials were sacked in the wake of a bribery case over army supplies, Ukraine on Wednesday launched 1er February a wave of anti-corruption searches targeting administrations, civil servants and personalities, the authorities ensuring that the fight against embezzlement is a priority in the context of the war effort and Western aid.

David Arakhamia, leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party, announced on Telegram that billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, ex-interior minister Arsen Avakov and the Ukrainian tax authorities had been targeted, while the customs directorate was sacked . Senior officials from the Ministry of Defense also received visits from investigators. “The country will change with the war and if someone is not ready for change, the state will come to change him”insisted Mr. Arakhamia, alluding to the endemic evil of corruption.

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sulphurous reputation

In addition, kyiv is hosting a summit with the European Union on Friday, which has made the fight against corruption a condition for Ukraine’s accession to the European bloc. The Ukrainian authorities, whose war effort largely depends on the military and financial support of Europe and the United States, are also challenged to curb the financial shenanigans so as not to disgust the allies.

Investigators from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on Tuesday released footage of the search of Mr. Kolomoisky’s home, as part of a case of embezzlement of 40 billion hryvnias (around one billion euros at the current rate) involving oil companies. This billionaire with a sulphurous reputation and sanctioned by the United States was close to Volodymyr Zelensky, before the latter distanced himself.

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The State Investigation Bureau meanwhile carried out searches in the tax authorities, accusing “the head of the Kyiv tax office of conspiracy for multi-million dollar enrichment”. Finally, investigators gave senior Ministry of Defense officials notices officially making them suspects.

Last week, on Mr. Zelensky’s orders, senior presidential and ministry officials, governors and prosecutors were forced out after becoming embroiled in shady deals. A few days earlier, a scandal had erupted, after revelations about a contract at allegedly overvalued prices for food products intended for soldiers in several regions. If this does not seem to be the case in this case, Westerners would see with a very dim view that the billions in aid paid over the past year to repel the Russian invader could be diverted.

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The World with AFP