Yuriy Shchyhol, ousted from the position of the head of the State Special Communications and Information Protection Service of Ukraine, is under suspicion of misappropriating state funds amounting to UAH 62 million ($1.8 million), the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) reported.
In collaboration with the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, NABU exposed an organized group within the leadership of the State Special Communications on Nov. 20.
Between 2020 and 2022, the owner of a group of companies, in conspiracy with the agency’s leadership, devised a scheme to misappropriate budgetary funds allocated for the purchase of equipment and software.
“To achieve this, two controlled companies were involved, and the procurement was kept secret to avoid open bidding and ensure their victory. The state enterprise subordinate to the State Special Communications concluded contracts with these companies for the supply of the corresponding software and services, transferring over UAH 285 million ($8 million) in 2021-2022,” stated NABU.
However, the actual value of the procurement was UAH 223 million ($6.2 million), and the remaining UAH 62 million was misappropriated by the participants in the scheme, the NABU said. The money was transferred to the accounts of controlled companies abroad to launder it and then distribute it among members of the organized group.
Currently, six individuals are under suspicion:
· Head of State Special Communications Yuriy Shchyhol and his deputy Viktor Zhora
· The CEO and another employee of the state enterprise
· The owner of the group of companies (scheme organizer) and one of his employees
The case is classified under misappropriation, embezzlement of property, or seizure through abuse of official position. This offense carries a penalty of seven to 12 years in prison with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to three years, as well as the confiscation of property.
The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Shchyhol and Zhora from their positions on Nov. 20. The interim duties of the head of State Special Communications will be performed by his first deputy, Dmytro Makovskyi.
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