Translated by Ollie Richardson
The latest loud corruption scandal in Ukraine didn’t keep itself waiting. The funds raised in four years from the “tax on the ATO” completely disappeared, and, most likely, it is necessary to look for them in the pockets of officials. This concerns at least about 38 billion hryvnia, which according to today’s exchange rate is about $1.35 billion.
It was succeeded to track the movement of some of the money thanks to contracts for deliveries of goods and services. Nobody knows where the other lion’s share of the money is, reports the Latvian “Riga.Rosvesty” Internet site. In Ukraine there is only silence about it.
After the beginning of military operations in Donbass, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine introduced a compulsory 1.5% contribution from salaries – a “tax on war”. The decision was termless – before the termination of the ATO. Thus, funds for the “restoration of Donbass” and defense was put in the budget of Ukraine. And yet funds are allocated for war from a special fund from the confiscation of corruption money and property and from the sale of “surplus weapons” – military bases and warehouses with USSR era weapons, military and special equipment, immovable military property … Not to forget the volunteers who still constantly raise money for pants and socks for the military personnel of the UAF. I.e., the Ministry of Defence was incapable of providing even pants to soldiers!
The “tax on the ATO” assesses salaries, awards and compensations, contracts for the purchase and sale of real estate, prizes in State and private lotteries, and so on … The publication notes that the funds raised from the population don’t go directly to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, but come to the state treasury, where they “simply dissolve”.
The deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Vitaly Kupriy is sure that only a small part of the “military tax” reaches the military. According to him, learning where the tax money went exactly is almost impossible. In 2017, together with several People’s Deputies he submitted a bill in which he insisted on the need to transfer the military tax money to a special fund, and the money, in turn, would be spent only on financing the army. However in the sessional hall this initiative didn’t get any support, writes “Riga.Rosvesty”.
“Of course, learning where these billions went is impossible. They were dissolved in the budget. They with the same success could be used to replenish the pension fund, which had a hole. I conducted my own investigation. I found out that the military tax money passed through a number of the same firms. It is a scheme that is controlled by the top brass,” said Kupriy.
For example, 200 million hryvnia ($7.1 million) was transferred to a certain company for fuels and lubricants that didn’t even trade in fuel. And 280 million hryvnia (about $10 million) went to a false firm. The investigation into these affairs was transferred to regional prosecutor’s offices, where it happily “died”.
According to Vitaly Kupriy, the authorities won’t cancel the military tax any time soon. “Who will kill the goose that lays golden eggs? It is very convenient – nobody will ever know where money disappeared to under the cover of a difficult situation in the country,” assures the Ukrainian deputy.
The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine also doesn’t know where the funds raised for the army disappeared to. “The Armed Forces are financed directly by the budget. And as for the military tax, it is better to ask questions to the one who raises these funds,” stated the press officer of the leadership on public relations of the UAF Jozef Venskovich.
So that’s that. None will be the wiser. The citizens of Ukraine don’t need to learn that their money is simply stolen, and that the military personnel remain with nothing. Ukrainian troops have problems with even pants and socks.
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