- Zelensky says changes will happen in government, regions
- Former economy minister praises government response
- Ruling party boss threatens to imprison officials
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that changes to the government, regions and security forces would be announced imminently following allegations of corruption almost a year after Russia’s invasion.
Zelensky, who was elected in a landslide in 2019 on a promise to change the way the government operates, did not specify in his nightly video speeches which officials would be replaced.
“Recruitment decisions have already been made for officials at various levels of ministries and other central government bodies, regions and law enforcement systems, today and tomorrow,” Zelensky said.
The president said part of the crackdown would include increased surveillance of foreign travel for official business.
Ukrainian media have reported that many ministers and senior officials may be dismissed as Zelensky tries to streamline the government.
One of the president’s most powerful supporters said he would “aggressively” imprison corrupt officials after the allegations came to light, and launched a zero-tolerance approach.
history of corruption
Ukraine has a long history of corruption and unstable governance, but there have been few such instances since last year’s invasion, as Kyiv sought Western financial and military help to fight Russian forces.
Anti-corruption police said Sunday 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.
A congressional committee on Monday agreed to tighten procurement controls after news reports said the Defense Department was overpaying suppliers for soldiers’ food. A bill will be introduced to partially disclose procurement prices in the event of a dispute.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov reportedly told the commission that the report was based on “technical errors” and that no money was exchanged.
The National Anti-Corruption Service said it was aware of media reports and was investigating possible crimes of misappropriation of funds or abuse of power in relation to procurements of more than 13 billion hryvnia ($352 million). .
Zelensky-led National Servant Party leader David Alakamir said that since Russia’s invasion, officials should “focus on war, help victims, cut bureaucracy and shut down shady businesses.” said to have been revealed.
“Many of them got the message. But unfortunately many of them didn’t. Do it along… Said.
Former Economy, Trade and Agriculture Minister Timofy Milovanov praised the government’s “proactive and very prompt” response. He said the deputy infrastructure minister had been summarily dismissed, pointing to an “unprecedented” level of public attention to the issue.
Ukraine, whose economy shrank by a third last year, is heavily dependent on Western financial aid, and donors such as the International Monetary Fund and the EU have repeatedly called for greater transparency and better governance.
($1 = 36.9250 hryvnia)
Reported by Tom Balmforth and Olena Harmash.Editing by Peter Graf and Stephen Coates
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