26 Jan 2023 13:16

Defense Ministry department head dismissed due to scandal over food procurement for Ukrainian army

MOSCOW. Jan 26 (Interfax) - Director of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Procurement Department Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov have been dismissed due a scandal over food procurement for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, head of the Verkhovna Rada anti-corruption policy committee Anastasia Radina said.

"Director of the Defense Ministry's Procurement Department Khmelnitsky and Deputy Defense Minister Shapovalov were dismissed," Ukrainian media outlets quoted Radina as saying in a social media post following the committee's meeting, which was attended by Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov.

Food supplies for the army are being procured under contracts signed last year, Radina said, citing Reznikov.

"My colleagues and I will check the documents and prices. As far as I understand, the document made public by journalists corresponds to the appendix to one of the new contracts of the Defense Ministry that have yet to take effect. The Defense Ministry said that it found irregularities in this contract and in other contracts and that checks and a price evacuation are ongoing in order to correct them," she said.

The prices in the contracts that have not yet entered into force and are being evaluated vary depending on the supplier, but some prices actually differ from the market prices and not in a favorable way, Radina said.

"The ministry has explained it with the elements of the food procurement service, in particular transport services and 'making allowance' for inflation," she said.

The government should change its approach to procurement due to this situation, she said.

"The government should not waste time and money of price evaluations after signing such deals (and after a public scandal or after a mistake is uncovered). And the procurement of goods can and should be handled in a way that will ensure that prices are similar to the market ones and do not grow because of additional services, etc. My colleagues and I have already taken the first step: we have registered a bill aimed at restoring a certain level transparency in defense procurement," Radina said.

It was reported earlier that Vyacheslav Shapovalov had been dismissed from the post of Ukrainian deputy defense minister.