During a session of the National Security and Defense Council on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised to have the state-owned defense concern “Ukroboronprom” audited.
“We are now initiating a complex international audit of the concern Ukroboronprom in accordance with the law on national security – a complex audit of all contracts,” the Ukrainian President said.
“Secondly, I propose that we immediately deal with the matter of expanding the concern’s supervisory board with international specialists from partner countries that are NATO members,” he added.
Poroshenko believes that such steps will help to prevent the Ukrainian public and the country’s international partners from losing faith in Ukroboronprom.
The scandal surrounding the Ukrainian defense industry conglomerate emerged over a week ago due to a journalistic investigation into corruption in the defense sector.
On 25 February 2019, journalists from Bihus.info reported that that Ukrainian state defense factories had been buying military equipment components from Russia. The parts were smuggled into the country, they were not checked for quality, and occasionally, ordinary scrap metal ended up in Ukraine. The smuggled goods were then made to appear legitimate through companies controlled by persons with a close connection to Ukroboronprom, and profits were split between scheme participants.
The investigation was based on correspondence leaked to the program’s editorial staff by an anonymous source in 2018. The documents included names and dates, as well as bribe and kickback amounts.
Ihor Hladkovskiy, one of the suspects in the case, called it a fake, but his father Oleh was nevertheless fired from his position as First Deputy NSDC Secretary. Ukroboronprom also dismissed Oleksiy Babych, director of the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, and Serhiy Filonenko, director of the Izyum State Instrument-Making Plant.
Ukroboronprom was established in December 2010, and includes more than 130 defense industry companies.