Press Briefing at Crisis Media Center
Today, representatives of the International Anti-Corruption Assembly attended the press briefing «Report on the activities of the Public Anti-Corruption Council under the Ministry of Defense for 2023. Recommendations for the Ministry of Defense» at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
On April 10, 2023, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov signed an order «On Approval of the Composition of the Public Anti-Corruption Council at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine». The Council consists of 15 people who were elected as a result of a nationwide vote held on the NAPC’s online platform and received the largest number of votes.
The speakers at the event were:
- Yevhen Hrushovets – Chairman of the Board (NGO “Ukrainian Bar Association”).
- Tetyana Nikolayenko – Member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions (NGO “SORORITAS”).
- Viktor Prudkovskykh – Secretary of the Council, member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions (NGO “Anti-Corruption Ax”).
- Anastasiia Shuba – Deputy Chairperson, member of the Commission on Legislative Monitoring and Rulemaking (NGO “Anti-Corruption Ax”).
- Hennadii Kryvosheya – member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions (NGO “Together Against Corruption”).
- Olena Tregub, member of the Commission on Legislative Monitoring and Rulemaking (NGO “Independent Anti-Corruption Commission”).
- Dana Yarovaya – Head of the Commission on Procurement and Procurement (NGO “SORORITAS”).
After the opening remarks by the Head of the Public Anti-Corruption Council, Yevhen Hrushevets, the microphone was handed over to Tetyana Nikolayenko, Member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions. In her speech, she reported that the first thing the Council began to investigate was contracts directly related to the procurement of food for our military on the front line.
«Even then, we saw that the problem with these contracts was more systemic than just eggs for 17 hryvnias or apples for 51 hryvnias, which we wrote about as journalists. The biggest problem was the absolute lack of transparency in the system, when the ministry buys three days’ food for which it pays 146 hryvnias, but in fact, suppliers bring individual products to some units, and only their price is deducted from this 146 hryvnias», she explained.
She emphasized that bidding on the Prozorro platform does not provide protection against collusion among market participants, when old players continue to win. In addition to the most famous scandal about the procurement of chicken eggs for the military, the purchase of winter jackets from Turkey for the military was also mentioned.
The next speaker was Viktor Prudkovskikh, Secretary of the Board, member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions.
In his speech, he spoke about his expectations for changes in procurement: «…In mid-December, with the participation of the Minister of Defense and the Commander-in-Chief, we presented both the DOT itself and the concept of its food procurement that it will use. It really contained the main parameters that our Council recommended to the Ministry. This included the separation of the logistics and food components. However, today, unfortunately, the ministry is discussing the deployment of the operator’s activities in hybrid versions, where the old procurement system will be preserved in any case…»
Gennadiy Kryvosheya, a member of the Commission on Communications, Human Resources and Expert Discussions, spoke about checks on the quality of food for military personnel.
Most of the products supplied to the Armed Forces, especially food, are of rather questionable quality. According to last year’s inspections, about 30% of the eggs tested were returned by the Food Safety Authority. That is, in fact, 30% of the goods that did not get to our military, but were pre-tested and returned to the suppliers. And there are a lot of such facts. And this applies not only to eggs, but also to canned food, semi-finished products, and so on.
«Today, inspections and research are being conducted on products that are mandatory and that everyone talks about quite often – canned food. In particular, meat, fish, cereals, that is, all of these are checked. On average, if we take the amount by tonnage, then in 2023, about 39 thousand tons of canned products were checked. Of these, 14% were returned, which is 5,433 tons», said Kryvosheya.
Also speaking were Anastasia Shuba, Deputy Chairperson, Member of the Commission on Legislative Monitoring and Rulemaking, and Olena Tregub, Member of the Commission on Legislative Monitoring and Rulemaking.
«Last summer, we started working to support the Ministry in implementing the measures set out in the State Anti-Corruption Program. One of them is the creation of an independent state quality assurance body. The relevant department within the Ministry of Defense cannot be independent a priori. However, 8 months have passed since we started talking about the need to create such a body, and it has not been done yet. At the same time, we have no hope that it will be created, because we see our like-minded people in the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption», said Anastasia Shuba.
«Our enemies are spreading the narrative around the world that we are a corrupt country and that we don’t need help because we steal everything. This is absolutely not true. Ukraine is not Afghanistan. The fact that we can check procurement and conduct quality examinations of goods at our own expense is a great success for Ukraine», emphasized Olena Tregub.
She told us that international partners are surprised and admired by our society. They are very interested in the fact that Ukraine has inspectors from the people, that Ukrainians are trying to regulate the system of defense spending on their own, to encourage agencies and ministries to implement various programs as soon as possible.
Watch the full video of the press briefing: Корупція в оборонних закупівлях: що вдається інспекторам від народу?