A former Ukrainian official accuses the country's political leadership of corruption

20.11.2020 comments
Key words: Ukraine, Internal Policies
Photo: “strana.ua”
Igor Umansky

The cartel, set up by six companies, has misappropriated UAH 36 billion (about € 1.08 billion), which the Ukrainian authorities previously diverted from the coronavirus pandemic fund to President Volodymyr Zelensky's road construction program “Velike budіvnictvo”, according to the Ukrainian President's Office, informs Igor Umansky, a former adviser to Andriy Yermak.
I. Umansky, who wrote his resignation on November 12 of this year, claims that he resigned after A. Yermak did not listen to his warnings about corruption schemes in road construction. “He [A.Yermak] told me: “It can't be! You mean “Velike budіvnictvo” steals ?!” I say: unprecedented on a large scale. He asked me for more details. I prepared a detailed statement for him, talked to market participants. We agreed to meet in three days and go to the president together. A month and a half passed, and nothing, ”explained I. Umansky.
Asked whether the name of A. Yermak also appeared in this statement prepared by him, I. Umansky pointed out that the name of A. Yermak does not appear there, but there are the names of several persons related to the Office of the President.
Asked to describe the corruption scheme, A. Yermak's former adviser pointed out that mainly six companies that lack their own resources win road construction tenders, therefore they attract subcontractors who perform work significantly cheaper than the tender estimate. “Now you judge for yourself: at the beginning of the year, the [State Road Agency] “Ukravtodor” promised to build 6,500 km of road for 120 billion UAH [EUR 3.59 billion] for Velike budіvnictvo.” After that, that number has transformed - there is now talk of 4,000 km of roads, but funding is constantly growing at the same time. It will then be removed from the oncology centre and then from the public debt service. Between 2016 and 2019, 105 billion UAH [3.15 billion EUR] was spent on roads and 9,200 km of roads were built. In turn, for 120 billion [UAH] we will build 4,000 km of roads. Nothing raises suspicion?”
Umansky claims that the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to direct funding for the construction of roads to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a negative reaction from international creditors, and the IMF representatives have openly told him that they are suspending cooperation with the republic. According to I. Umansky, IMF representatives believe that Ukraine is a country that does not keep its word. "If after the change of power [in Ukraine in 2019] all our international donors had euphoria that something would change, now they have an understanding: no matter what is offered to Ukraine, they will be deceived anyway."

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Umansky was the Minister of Finance of Ukraine until March 30 of this year, and after his dismissal he issued a statement that the political leadership of the republic covers corruption schemes in customs and the State Tax Service, resulting in a monthly loss of 5 billion UAH (168.6 million EUR). In response to I. Umansky's accusations, A. Yermak called on the former Minister of Finance to become his adviser. “I was extremely outraged by the information about corruption schemes in customs and the State Tax Service, which was expressed by the former Minister of Finance I. Umansky. That is why I am offering him a mechanism that will help to eradicate these schemes. He will be able to deal with it as my official advisor with access to state institutions,” A. Yermak explained. On November 18 of this year, I. Umansky claimed that despite the public commitment of the Ukrainian political leadership to fight corruption, the corruption schemes described in this spring are still operating.