Ukraine launches two probes of lawmakers in continuing fight against corruption News
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Ukraine launches two probes of lawmakers in continuing fight against corruption

Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau announced investigations into two unnamed lawmakers on Tuesday for allegedly attempting to bribe reconstruction officials.  

One lawmaker was alleged to have tried to bribe top reconstruction officials with bitcoins worth $50,000 in order to direct monies from the 4.77 billion hryvnia ($130 million) Fund for Liquidation of the Consequences of Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation to pay for repairs of buildings and infrastructures “under his control.” The fund, created by Ukrainian Bill 8027 was supposed to be funded by assets confiscated from sanctioned Russian individuals and the Russian state alongside funding from foreign supporters and to be used on construction, reconstruction and overhaul of public properties which were destroyed or damaged as a result of the Russian armed aggression, and civil defense properties.

The second lawmaker was alleged to have attempted to bribe a reconstruction official in August with around $100,000 in order to secure contracts for his construction company. The Bureau claimed that the lawmaker offered to pay a 3 to 5 percent kickback on all approved construction projects to officials  and that the $100,000 payment was payment for a $1.4 million contract reconstructing a destroyed bridge in Ukraine.

The Bureau also announced that a private company was under investigation for offering a building worth $4.7 million to an official in order to secure approval and permits to build on land managed by the Ministry of Community Development.

These investigations are just the latest in a series of corruption scandals that have rocked Ukraine. On Monday, Kiev dismissed Yurii Shchyhol and Viktor Zhora, the head and deputy head of the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, for suspicions of embezzling state funds worth $1.8 million. Ukraine also recently announced investigations into a military unit based in Chernigov for misuse of over $1 million of government funds. In 2022, Transparency International ranked Ukraine 116 out of 180 in terms of corruption.