Law enforcers investigate involvement of Minister Ruslan Strilets in corruption scheme shutterstock

Law enforcers investigate involvement of Minister Ruslan Strilets in corruption scheme

Anna Velyka

Previous state losses are estimated at tens of millions of hryvnias

In May, the police launched an investigation into a scheme to purchase electricity at significantly inflated prices, which may involve the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ruslan Strilets through companies under his control and in collusion with his former subordinate, and now First Deputy Head of the State Agency of Water Resources of Ukraine Natalia Latysh.

This was reported by the Apostrophe media outlet in its article.

Ms. Natalia was a subordinate of the current Minister of Environmental Protection when he headed the Department of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Dnipro Regional State Administration. In June 2022, at the suggestion of Ruslan Strilets, she took up her current position.

What was the scheme

According to law enforcement officers, in 2023, Natalia Latysh allegedly instructed subordinate heads of structural units of the State Agency of Water Resources of Ukraine to conclude contracts with companies controlled by the minister (Electroatom LLC, Biokhimkontrol LLC, and Ye Energy LLC) for the supply of electricity.

In particular, the contracts were signed by the heads of the following organizations:

  • Kamian administration of protective massifs of Dnieper reservoirs;
  • Cherkasy administration of protective massifs of Dnieper reservoirs;
  • Interregional office of protective massifs of Dnipro reservoirs;
  • Regional office of water resources in the Kharkiv region;
  • Regional office of water resources in the Mykolaiv region;
  • Management of the "Dnipro-Donbas" channel.

According to the law enforcement officers, public purchases of electricity by these organizations took place with numerous violations of the law and clear signs of conspiracy. The desired supplier offered the highest price and occupied notoriously inaccessible places. However, all other bidders were rejected by the management of the organizations under far-fetched circumstances. In the end, the contract was concluded with the only bidder – the one who remained.

What are the amounts of stolen money

The investigators cite as an example 2 contracts concluded in 2023 between the Cherkasy Department of Protective Arrays of the Dnipro Reservoirs and Electroatom LLC. The supplier's tariff under these contracts was overstated by UAH 1.027/kWh including VAT, which is 19.2%. And since the supply volumes were quite significant – 7,491,935 kWh and 56,625 kWh, respectively – the amount of money stolen from the state was significant – almost UAH 6 million.

The corruption component in other organizations was similar. According to preliminary law enforcement estimates, the participants of the scheme may have misappropriated almost UAH 78 million in total in 2023.

Investigators are now checking the possible involvement of all managers who could have been involved in this corruption vertical. It is likely that the cynical embezzlement of tens of millions of hryvnias from the state budget by high-ranking officials lasted for more than 2 years, just during the full-scale war.

Previously, EcoPolitic talked about the course of forest reform, during which Cabinet of Ministers centralized corruption, and deforestation increased many times.

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Therefore, there are doubts about the effectiveness of the forest reform, which is currently being carried out