President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a new law that aims to make the process of defense procurements more transparent, lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelesnyak reported on his Telegram channel. Ukraine's Parliament has developed and approved this law after a scandal with the procurement of military products by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) at inflated prices broke out in January.

 On January 21, the Ukrainian outlet ZN (Mirror Weekly), revealed an alleged scam involving officials at the MoD who used a dummy corporation to sell overpriced food products to the army. ZN claimed that professionals supplying products for the military had set up a private company operating out of an apartment building without state tax clearance. The most common products were overpriced by two to threefold with a contract value of 13 billion Hr. ($330 million).

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 Then on January 24, Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, responsible for logistics support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), resigned. Meanwhile, in early February, rumors circulated about the possible dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. Reznikov himself said he could likely resign, but has since remained in office.

 From now on, given the new law signed by President Zelensky, the procedure of procurements for the defense sector will become more transparent. The law requires mandatory reporting on the prices paid for the goods and services for the AFU in the Prozorro system, an electronic public procurement system through an online platform. In particular, the report must indicate:

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·      the customer;

·      the purchased item (with units of measurement);

·      the price per unit of goods and the price of works and services.

  The law suggests not revealing the other information. This especially applies to sensitive information, including:

·      location, identification data of the State customer in the field of Defense and the supplier of goods, contractor, or service            provider;

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·      quantity, place, and terms of delivery of goods (performance of the contract);

·      the total price of the contract for the purchase of goods.

 The lawmakers who sponsored the bill believe this will ensure a balance between the interests of national security and defense and the democratic principles of openness and transparency.

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