The president promised a change of government after reports of corruption at the defense and infrastructure ministries.
Almost a year after the Russian aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would make changes to the government and security services as part of a new crackdown on corruption.
In his nightly video address Monday, Zelensky did not name the officials who would be replacing him, but indicated that the reorganization was imminent.
“Recruitment decisions have already been made regarding officials at various levels of ministries and other central government agencies, regions and law enforcement systems, today and tomorrow,” the president said.
Zelensky was elected in a landslide in 2019 based on a promise to reform the government and tackle corruption long before Moscow sent troops across the border on February 24 last year.
Ukraine ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Over the weekend, it emerged that the Department of Defense had been buying soldiers’ food at inflated prices, raising questions about the government’s procurement process.
On Sunday, anti-corruption police said they had detained the deputy infrastructure minister on suspicion of receiving a $400,000 kickback last September to expedite the import of wartime generators into Ukraine. rice field.
Ukrainian media reported that many ministers and senior officials could be sacked as President Zelenskyi seeks to streamline the government.
One of the president’s most powerful supporters has previously said that corrupt officials would be “aggressively” jailed.
Corruption in Ukraine. There are two new procurement scandals. Both show that although corruption is temporary, cultural change to combat corruption is systemic. This is my take as a former UA Economy Minister. 1/
— Tymofiy Mylovanov (@Mylovanov) January 22, 2023
Zelensky announced on Monday that it would ban government officials from traveling abroad personally.
The move followed revelations that Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko had gone on vacation to Spain in December and January using a Mercedes owned by a Lviv businessman. Citing law enforcement sources, the online newspaper Ukrainian Pravda reported that Simonenko had resigned.
A parliamentary committee on Monday agreed to tighten regulations on procurement and make some prices public in disputes.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov reportedly told the commission that reports of corruption at the ministry were based on “technical mistakes” and that no money was exchanged.
The State Anti-Corruption Service said it was investigating possible crimes of misappropriation of funds or abuse of power related to the procurement, which it said was worth more than 13 billion Ukrainian hryvnia ($352 million).
Ukraine’s economy shrank by a third last year and the country is heavily dependent on Western financial aid. Donors such as the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have repeatedly called for greater transparency and better governance.