Anti-corruption activists participating in an International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) project have submitted to Ukrainian authorities the results of 20 investigations that detail allegations of embezzlement of public funds, fraud, cronyism, and other forms of corruption.
The results were announced at an April 14 press conference held jointly with the Kharkiv Anti-corruption Center (KhAC), which has partnered with ICPS on the project, called “Anti-corruption Portal for Public Investigations.”
“Anti-corruption investigations can be conducted through processing of public information and open data registers,” said project coordinator Natalia Shylo. “The country lives in a unique time. High officials have become open to our gaze as never before. We can make sure what decisions the city council takes and what procurement auctions state enterprises hold.
“Our authorities still do not realize how transparent their activities are, that is why they involve in procurement auctions their friends by establishing non-transparent conditions. You can keep up on all this sitting at the computer.”
Funded by the British Embassy in Ukraine, the project was launched in January 2016. The project supported activists who combed public records, conducted open data journalism, and financed independent investigators. The project is one of the first in the field of “digital democracy” in Ukraine, and the think tank expects that it will set a precedent for increasing citizen control over public finances.
Among the findings submitted to authorities are allegations that:
- The Donbasenergo power company purchased coal from a mine owned by the minister of energy and coal of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic at a price 3.5 times higher than the market price, according to Volodymyr Rudenko of the KhAC.
- The city council of Kharkiv routinely gives away public land to corporations and individuals close to municipal leaders. In one case, the land was used to build a private mansion for Mykhailo Dobkin, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, said journalist Maryna Nikolaeva. She said that Kharkiv has one of the lowest levels of competition in the construction industry in Ukraine.
- The director of the Kharkiv Cancer Center profited from two pharmacies he built on the site of the center. The center spent about 46 percent of its medicinal purchases at the pharmacies, said Yevgen Lisichkin of the KhAC.
ICPS and Svidomi, an anti-corruption NGO, are planning a press conference April 28 in Lviv, to reveal more results of the project.