Ukrainian authorities have arrested a former lawmaker and deputy head of the state-owned gas company, Naftogaz, in an anti-corruption sting, run by the National Anti-corruption Bureau, or NABU. The country has spent a lot of resources setting up the new investigative body to root out the corruption from the former Soviet economy that is strangling economic growth and preventing IMF aid assistance to go forward. The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office has also been reborn as new, young hires attempt to reverse the old trends.
“The anti-corruption bureau NABU suspects former lawmaker Mykola Martynenko of benefiting through an Austria-registered company from the uranium sales to a state-owned enrichment plant in 2014, at a time when he was the head of the energy committee in parliament. He says the case is politically motivated.”
“Sergiy Pereloma, first deputy chairman of state-run Naftogaz, was also detained, suspected of being an intermediary. His lawyer denied his involvement. Naftogaz said the matter related to activities before he joined the company,” reports Reuters.
“The investigation found that the amount of losses inflicted on the state is more than $17 million dollars,” chief anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskyi declared.
Martynenko is the highest profile person to be charged by the Ukrainian authorities for corruption as the government is under pressure to show progress on the fight against the systemic problem to unlock further aid from the IMF. “This case is political and is not backed by any evidence,” Martynenko said in a video posted on his party’s website.