Ukrainian Defense Officials Charged With Corruption: What We Know
29 October, 2017

This month, National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) detectives detained four people for allegedly engaging in a corrupt scheme to purchase fuel for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Two top Defense Ministry officials — Lieutenant General Igor Pavlovsky, the Deputy Minister, and Colonel Volodymyr Hulyevych, Director of the State Procurement and Supply of Material Resources Department — are suspected of embezzlement.

There is currently no information on the two other people detained — neither their names, nor their role in the corruption scheme. According to NABU, the fraud cost the state budget around $5.5 million.

Hromadske breaks down what is known about the corruption case.

What happened?

At the beginning of 2016, around $36.7 million were allocated from the state budget purchase 70 tons of fuel for the Armed Forces. In April 2016, the Ministry of Defense signed a contract with the company that won the tender. A month later, the company appealed to the Ministry with a proposal to reconsider the contract as the market prices had changed.

“They based this on a certificate from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of one of the regions. Over the course of a month, they signed additional agreements. The amount of fuel was changed from 70 thousand tons to 8.5 thousand tons costing around $5.5 million,” explained Nazar Holodnytsky, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office,  during a briefing on October 11.

However, he did not answer Hromadske’s question on which company won the tender.

“Having no official documents I can neither confirm the name of the company, nor the involvement of certain people in the scheme,” Holodnytsky said.

However, Petro Poroshenko Bloc MP Mustafa Nayyem claims that the company that won the tender is called Trade-Commodity.

“Andrew Adamovsky — a partner of the president’s close friend, Igor Kononenko — and [MP] Oleksandr Granovsky are behind the company Trade Commodity,  which stands accused of involvement in the corrupt scheme..." Nayyem wrote in a Facebook post. "Trade Commodity,  which offered the most economically beneficial price, won the tender. After the tender, the customer and the supplier finalized a number of additional agreements and made amendments to the contract, which resulted in the price increasing by 16%.” 

MPs Alexander Granovsky (left) and Ihor Kononenko during a parliamentary session, (archive photo, September 7) Photo credit: Oleksandr Kosmach/UNIAN

In turn, Mr. Granovsky denies having any connection with Trade Commodity.

“I have nothing to do with this company. Moreover, I don’t even understand what it does. I’m ready to help the investigators with this case if necessary,”  Granovsky told the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper.

According to the Nashi Groshi new site, Trade Commodity has previously appeared in at least two criminal proceedings for evading excise tax payments and creating tax credits through fictitious companies.

What's known about the suspects?

Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Pavlovsky, 52, has worked in the military since 1983. He was the deputy head of the training center for the Armed Forces of Ukraine's ground forces, and then became first deputy commander of Operational Command South.

Before he was appointed Deputy Defense Minister in 2015, Pavlovsky had served as rear services chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for more than a year.

Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Lieutenant-General Ihor Pavlovskiy (second from right) at a ceremony for the NATO Trust Fund project, December 15, 2015. Photo credit: Oleksandr Synytsya/UNIAN

Pavlovsky’s asset declaration mentions an apartment in Zhytomyr owned by the Ministry of Defense and a plot of land in the Odesa region, registered to his wife. The Lieutenant General also owns a Fiat Tempora. He retains about $12.6 thousand in cash. His annual salary from the Defense Ministry was about $18.6 thousand.

Volodymyr Hulyevych, director of the State Procurement and Supply of Material Resources Department, lives in an apartment in Kyiv registered to his wife Inna. His declaration mentions a Honda CR-V, which also belongs to his wife.

Over the past year, Hulyevych earned around $9.1 thousand for his role in the Defense Ministry and around $1.7 thousand for his position in the General Staff of the Armed Forces. He retains around $65 thousand in cash.

Colonel Volodymyr Hulyevych, director of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's State Procurement and Supply of Material Resource Department,  during a briefing on the needs of military forces, May 18, 2016. Photo: Yevhen Kolesnyk/UNIAN

Both suspects face charges under Part 5, Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Acquisition, embezzlement or possession of property by abuse of an official position”).

What’s next?

The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office asked Kyiv's Solomyansky district court to detain Pavlovsky and Hulyevych for 2 months. They both face from 8 to 12 years imprisonment.

Nazar Holodnytsky, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office,  hopes that the investigation will be completed within four months and the indictment will be sent to the court.

/Translated by Olga Kuchmagra