Politico: Zelensky’s anti-corruption plan raises fears of a cover-up

Click play to listen to this article

Voiced by artificial intelligence.

Kyiv – President Volodymyr Zelensky Transfer to Equating wartime corruption with treason is drawing a backlash from officials and watchdogs, who warn the plan could hamper Ukraine’s main anti-corruption forces.

Two senior officials tracking the proposal, who have been granted anonymity to speak frankly, say fears are growing within Ukraine’s anti-graft agencies that Zelensky’s plan will take major corruption cases away from their oversight and pass them to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Which is under the command of the president.

It is possible that the Ukrainian Security Service will have the power to bury corruption cases involving high-ranking officials. Officials say the move could put Ukraine’s anti-corruption infrastructure under threat, and anti-corruption watchdogs are sounding the alarm.

By equating corruption with treason, Zelensky’s office is playing with the public’s desire for justice. He said Vitaly Shabunin, Head of the Anti-Corruption Center (ANTAC), a Ukrainian non-governmental organization that monitors corruption. In fact, Zelensky’s office pursues other goals, Shaponin added: protecting high-ranking officials from corruption charges and acquiring tools to destroy opponents.

“The Security Service of Ukraine will investigate the same cases as the NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine), which means that evidence will be destroyed in “sensitive” cases of the President’s Office. After the transfer of the case (deputy head of the President’s Office Oleg) Tatarov from the National Bureau of Ukraine to the Security Service of Ukraine – she is buried there… Now the Bureau wants to put this into practice.”

And as journalists and anti-graft agencies begin to uncover more alleged corruption schemes during the early months of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion that began in February 2022, Zelensky believes those days were so difficult that officials should relax a bit.

“February-March 2022 – it was a fight for Ukraine’s existence. If I see corruption cases dated back then, I would demand solid evidence. “If there is (evidence), the guilty should be punished by the court, not public opinion,” Zelensky said in his remarks. televised interview. “As for my idea of ​​equating corruption with state treason in wartime, I think it would be a very dangerous tool to make them not think about it (corruption).”

Antak said in a statement that this would practically mean the collapse of the anti-corruption system.

“According to anti-corruption center sources, the bill will give the right to investigate senior corruption to the Security Service of Ukraine – a security service controlled by the office of the president,” Antak said in a statement. Current and former senior officials of the State Security Apparatus She was named By the Ukrainian media as close to Zelensky’s office – which is accusation Andrei Yermak, Zelensky’s right-hand man, dismissed this theory as “conspiracy theories”.

Zelensky moved to begin the process of changing the law after another wartime corruption case was revealed last week, in which two high-ranking Ukrainian officials were named as suspects in an embezzlement scheme involving the purchase of humanitarian aid.

“I don’t know if members of the Verkhovna Rada will support my idea, but I will definitely propose it… We have to implement systemic changes. This is the way to fight corruption,” Zelensky said.

He added that his office would submit the bill to the Verkhovna Rada within a week.

“This is the way to fight corruption,” Zelensky said. Sergey Chuzavkov/AFP via Getty Images

“I set a task, and my proposals will be presented to Ukrainian lawmakers on equating corruption with high treason in wartime,” Zelensky said Sunday evening. “I understand that such a weapon cannot function continuously in society, but in times of war, I think it will help.”

Corruption scandals in the Zelensky administration have attracted increased attention as the country seeks to start membership talks with the European Union.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanyshina told a conference in Kiev earlier this month that Ukraine’s seven-step deadline for progress is approaching in October, and the country has so far only implemented two. However, Stefanyshina said the partners recognized the tremendous progress Ukraine had made during the war, and she still hoped accession talks could begin in December.

Although Zelensky was not personally implicated in the scandal, about 77 percent of Ukrainians believe he is responsible for ongoing corruption in the government and local military departments, according to a poll by the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives Elko Kocherev. published At the beginning of August.

Zelensky’s allies responded to any suggestion that he was responsible, amid repeated scandals that rocked the government in 2023 in the sectors of humanitarian aid, conscription and military procurement. And they support the president’s move to put wartime corruption on a par with treason.

Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the chief of Zelensky’s office, told Politico that the president’s initiatives will enhance the anti-corruption infrastructure and its effectiveness.

The president begins this discussion to put a clear “equalizing” sign in the public consciousness between wartime corruption and treason. The tougher penalties for corruption offenses and the abolition of bail for those accused of corruption are proof of the seriousness of his intentions, Podolyak said.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button