Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has fired the National Security and Defense Council deputy secretary Oleg Gladkovsky whose name is featured in the latest bombshell investigation about grand-scale corruption in Ukraine's defense sector.
"My statement is definitely not a [court] verdict, but it's my responsibility to create such conditions so that people believe in the fairness and unbiasedness of an objective investigation," the president said at the Regional Development Council in Mykolaiv city, southern Ukraine on March 4.
Former National Security and Defense Council deputy secretary Oleg Gladkovsky whose name is featured in the latest bombshell investigation about grand-scale corruption in Ukraine's defense sector. Photo credit: Mykhailo Markiv / POOL / UNIAN
This comes almost a week after a new investigation by Bihus.info, a Ukrainian media outlet, revealed that Gladkovsky's son Ihor was involved in large-scale embezzlement schemes that involve smuggling Russian military equipment into Ukraine. According to the investigation, in 2015, Ihor Gladkovsky procured Russian military equipment – which was then purchased by Ukraine’s state defense amalgamation Ukroboronprom at several times market rates – with the consent of the company’s management.
Ihor Gladkovsky allegedly turned to his father for help at the highest levels while the dirty work – such as the procurement of supplies and transfer of funds – was done by partners Vitaly Zhukov and Andriy Rohoza. The scheme netted at least 250 million hryvnia ($9 million), which was then laundered through various methods, Bihus.info said.
While in Mykolaiv, Poroshenko also appealed to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) with the call to "investigate high-profile stories and dot all the i's."
"Anyone who's found guilty should be held responsible," Poroshenko said.
The president tasked the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov to prepare and carry out an NSDC session on reforming Ukroboronprom. The session is scheduled to take place on March 6.
Many in Ukraine speculated that such high-profile scandal that involves a Poroshenko ally would seriously damage the incumbent's dream of staying a president for another term.
"It's kind of unclear how this investigation will affect Poroshenko's chances [of reelection] because these allegations of corruption at the highest level of the state have been quite prevalent for a long period of time. Especially, in the defense industry where we know something like 80% of the tenders have been kept secret for the past few years," French independent journalist and co-founder of Daleko-Blisko collective Sébastien Gobert told Hromadske.
"This idea that there is corruption in the defense industry, that this is all happening in a country that's at war and that this is extremely detrimental to the soldiers and to the defense of the national integrity have been important for a long time."
The author of the Bihus.info investigation Lesya Ivanova previously blasted the Ukrainian authorities for "minimal reaction" to the exposed facts.
"What [Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko] said that they're on the finish line [with these investigations] sounds like a lie. What I see in the court register is that not a single law enforcement office moved as high as to Gladkovsky. Gladkovsky's last name doesn't feature in these investigations, which means that either they didn't move as high up as to his name or they just decided to close their eyes and not see it," Ivanova told Hromadske on March 3.
"If they are on the finish line, then why a week since we published [this investigation] I do not see any law enforcement body – none of them – putting their leg over the porches of these guys with searches, arrests or charges," she added.
/By Maria Romanenko