Ukraine’s intelligence and security service discovered that a fraudulent arms deal worth $40 million was underway involving of multiple defence officials and corporate leaders of the country.
According to reports, officials had signed a contract in August 2022 with arms firm Lviv Arsenal for around 100,000 mortar rounds worth 1.5 billion hryvnias ($39.6). The company was set to transfer the funds to a foreign company which would subsequently supply the goods to Ukraine. However, no ammunition was supplied to the country and the money was instead sent to Balkan and Ukrainian accounts.
The amount has been seized by authorities and will be reverted to the defence budget.
Officials involved in the scandal include incumbent and former heads of the Defence Ministry’s Department of Military and Technical Policy, Development of Armaments and Military Equipment, and the head of Lviv Arsenal.
SBU reported on Saturday, January 27 that five people had been charged along with the arrest of an individual, who was attempting to cross the national border.
Ukraine’s Bid To Join EU And NATO
The incident comes in wake of Kyiv’s attempts to cut down on corruption in order to secure its membership to the European Union and NATO.
In recent months the country has tackled with various anti-corruption drives including the dismissal of all the military recruitment officials in August 2023 and the subsequent sacking of Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov in September 2023.
Before coming to power in 2019, the now-president of Ukraine, Zelensky had made anti-corruption an active agenda of his political campaign.
The German anti-corruption association, Transparency International ranked Ukraine 116th out of 180 countries in its 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index.