Has “our” money been stolen in Ukraine? “Zelensky works to fight corruption”


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to clean it up, but corruption continues in Ukraine. The allegations are not false: food for soldiers at the front was deliberately bought too expensive, money for humanitarian aid went into the wrong pockets. And this is when the country is in the middle of a war.

Since last night, 11 senior officials have left the field willingly or unwillingly. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether they will all be charged with corruption.

“This is particularly vulnerable when armed forces are stolen in times of war,” says Bob Deen of the Clingendael Institute. “And it is striking that Zelenskyj has fired so many people: If he had just wanted to set an example, he would have caught one or the other.”

During the 2019 election campaign, Zelenskyy pledged to end widespread corruption in his country. Yet in an interview with Nieuwsuur last May, he questioned the reports pointing to corruption. “The fact that he is taking action now and firing people is both a sign that he is taking action and an admission that old corrupt practices still exist,” Deen says.

Ukraine has a long history of corruption, both minor and major. “When Viktor Yanukovych was president from 2010 to 2014, corruption was so rampant that you couldn’t interact with a public institution without paying a bribe,” says Olena Halushka of Antac, Ukraine’s anti-corruption organisation.

A lot has changed since then, he says. “We have established all kinds of anti-corruption institutions from scratch. A national anti-corruption bureau, a special prosecutor for corruption, and anti-corruption supreme courts.”

Western allies routinely insist that the country must continue to work on this fight, regardless of the war effort. For over 20 years, the EU has supported Ukraine’s reforms to strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption and money laundering, but these have not been erased from the system.

Now that it’s clear that war funds may have gone into the wrong pockets, Deen says these allies are watching the results closely. “Support for Ukraine risks collapsing. Opponents will say that ‘our’ money was stolen. But this incident also shows that Zelenskyy is working to fight corruption.”

mature democracy

Olena Halushka of the anti-corruption organization Antac sees the developments as a positive signal. “The layoffs are very sensible and the move I would expect from a government with a mature democracy. I was hoping this would come.

He points out that while corruption is a big problem in Ukraine, it is not unique to Ukraine. “Take, for example, the recent corruption scandal in the European Parliament. So the problem is not corruption, but the way of dealing with it. When courts hear corruption cases, when suspected officials are fired and fired, democracy matures with the power to deal with its own problems in a healthy way.”

He says it is now important to monitor how fair investigations into dismissed police officers are. “We also need to see who will be taken into the vacant positions. If the numbers are in doubt, the lesson has probably not been learned yet.”

Source: NOS


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