The head of the State Special Communications Service, Yuriy Shchyhol, and his deputy, Viktor Zhora, were dismissed by the Cabinet of Ministers for allegedly using government funds to purchase software and equipment at inflated prices and receiving Hr.63 million ($1.7 million) in kickbacks in collusion with two state-owned enterprises.

Kyiv Post sources in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said that Yuriy Shchyhol and Viktor Zhora were “notified of suspicion of embezzlement” [a Ukrainian legal step similar to indictment] of Hr.62 million ($1.7 million) in the purchase of software.

The investigation found that from 2020 to 2022, the owner of a group of companies, in collusion with the management of the State Special Communications Service (SSCIP), developed a scheme to embezzle budget funds allocated for the purchase of equipment and software. NABU alleges that two state-owned companies were involved and that the procurement was kept classified to avoid open bidding and ensure they received the contracts.

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According to NABU, the state-owned enterprises subordinate to the SSCIP entered into contracts with these companies for the supply of software and services and transferred funds of more than Hr.285 million ($7.9 million) in 2021 and 2022.

However, according to NABU the actual cost of the software purchased by the companies from a foreign manufacturer was Hr.223 million ($6.2 million), and the difference of more than Hr.62 million was skimmed off by the group of offenders.

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Artem Shylo, who had also worked for the SBU, is being held for two months on Hr.30 million ($770,000) bail.

NABU says the funds were transferred to the accounts of the two companies abroad for “legalization” and distribution among members of the organized group.

Kyiv Post contacted representatives of the SSCIP for comment but was only asked to wait for an official statement from the SSCIP.

In addition, according to Taras Melnychuk, a representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Parliament, the Cabinet dismissed the head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSCIP), Yuriy Shchyhol, and his deputy, Viktor Zhora.

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