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EXCLUSIVE Ukraine Corruption Watch

"It's a Special Cynicism" – Kyiv Schools Shelter Purchases Twice Normal Market Price

Activists who earlier exposed the schemes which included high-tech kitchen equipment and drums purchased for Kyiv air-raid shelters reported further significant abuse.

Recently the department of education of the Dniprovsky district of Kyiv purchased more than 300 drums for children. The musical instruments were supposedly intended to provide psychological relief for children in shelters during air raids.


The public became concerned after it was identified that the authorities had tried to buy drums, vegetable cutters, and frying pans for use in bomb shelters. Maksym Shulzhenko, a public activist who investigated the previous purchases says funds that should have been spent on building materials for the shelters were also misused.


“Well, you don't have to be a skilled investigator to compare the retail prices of the available materials on the market with those in the estimate.


“You look there and see such and such a quantity of primer of a particular brand at, say, 20 hryvnias per liter. Then you open the Internet and see that this primer is priced not at 20 hryvnias per liter but 10.”


According to activists, most purchases recorded are twice the actual cost, and such purchases amount millions of hryvnias.


"Well, overall, in Kyiv, it would be hundreds of millions."


Shulzhenko also says that many procurements are labeled as being for "shelters" to allow funds from the budget to be used and to avoid normal tender procedures.


"I looked through documents and began to analyze them. I saw how people bypassed the procurement procedures or, in some cases, used the label "shelter" to receive funding from the treasury at the end of the year. After all, if something is purchased for the purpose of people's safety, then it's not required to undergo the tender procedure," he said.


The activist also stressed that money for the social needs of the budget is financed by international donors, often in the form of loans, the interest on which will also be paid by Ukrainian taxpayers.


“We all know that we don't have enough money for the country's needs and that all the money the country earns goes to help the army.

“And all other expenses, like salaries to teachers and other government-funded employees and social payments, are covered by borrowed funds, lent by international donors. Look, afterward, this country will still have to pay interest on what is stolen now."


Currently law enforcement agencies are investigating several potential criminal actions involving the purchase of expensive items for Kyiv's shelters, as reported by the Kyiv city prosecutor's office.


The prosecutor's office stated that after high-profile reports about the purchase of vegetable cutters, chairs, and drums for shelters, several criminal proceedings were launched to investigate the possible embezzlement of funds by officials of the Dniprovsky regional state administration for education.


In addition, the investigation department of the Kyiv Police is investigating another criminal proceeding - the possible embezzlement of funds by officials of district administrations' education departments and official negligence by employees of the department of internal financial control and audit of the Kyiv City State Administration in public procurement for the shelters.

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