The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) announced it had uncovered corruption cases involving two members of the Verkhovna Rada, describing it as “an important day for Ukraine.”
NABU's Telegram press service reports that, in the first case, a parliamentarian and member of the anti-corruption committee sought to bribe the head of the State Agency for Reconstruction and Development of Infrastructure, Mustafa Nayem.
Parliamentarian Oleksiy Honcharenko identified the individual in question as Andrii Odarchenko in a post on his Telegram channel. Kyiv Post reached out to NABU for confirmation, but the bureau declined to comment.
The parliamentarian is accused of attempting to pay a bribe in Bitcoin, the equivalent of $50,000.
“This marks the first time in the history of anti-corruption bodies that an illegal benefit in cryptocurrency has been documented,” the bureau emphasized.
In exchange for the funds, the lawmaker requested assistance in securing finances to repair an infrastructure project under his control from funds that will be allocated for rehabilitation in the aftermath of Russia's armed aggression, according to NABU.
The arrest was made following the transfer of the initial tranche of the bribe, equivalent to $10,000, to the whistleblower’s crypto wallet. The investigations are ongoing.
Honcharenko revealed that on Nov. 21, there was a meeting of the anti-corruption committee attended by the NABU leadership. Odarchenko was detained right before the meeting, and was served a suspect notice near to the committee building.
Additionally, NABU and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) uncovered another parliamentarian, the owner of significant construction and agricultural businesses, who was also involved in bribery.
Honcharenko mentions that this is Serhiy Labazyuk from the “For the Future” party. According to the People's Deputy, NABU conducted searches of both Labazyuk and Volodymyr Kozak, a member of the transport committee of the Rada and deputy from the “Servant of the People” faction.
NABU chose not to comment to Kyiv Post on the information.
In August, the suspected lawmaker allegedly approached a top official of the State Reconstruction Agency, seeking contracts for infrastructure reconstruction worth over Hr. 1 billion.
The parliamentarian promised a “reward” of 3-5% of each contract's value and engaged the company director for further coordination.
“After receiving Hr. 50 million for a contract to restore a destroyed bridge in one of Ukraine's regions, the parliamentarian, through a trusted person, delivered the promised interest of $150,000 to the whistleblowing official from the State Reconstruction Agency,” NABU added.
Transfer of this bribe took place in the parking lot of a city supermarket in the capital, concealed in a Chinese casket.
“Investigative actions against people's deputies became possible thanks to the personal assistance of the Prosecutor General,” NABU noted.
Simultaneously, NABU did not specify whether formal suspicions were announced against the parliamentarians. However, Honcharenko insists that they were indeed served to both deputies.
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