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Umerov unveils new procurement agency as part of anti-corruption efforts

by Martin Fornusek December 18, 2023 4:46 PM 2 min read
Rustem Umerov stands in the Ukrainian parliament during voting on his nomination as the Ukrainian defense minister in Kyiv on Sept. 6, 2023. (Andrii Nesterenko/AFP via Getty Images)
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Defense Minister Rustem Umerov introduced in an opening presentation on Dec. 18 the state enterprise Defense Goods Procurement Agency (also referred to as the State Logistics Operator, or DOT), a new procurement agency for Ukraine's Armed Forces.

The agency is responsible for all non-military purchases, such as food, fuel, or clothes, some of which became the center of two corruption scandals under the Defense Ministry's previous leadership.

"This is not just a presentation of a new procurement agency. This is the start of a new public procurement architecture in Ukraine's defense sector," Umerov said in his speech.

"This architecture is built according to international standards and NATO principles in coordination with our international partners."

The defense minister noted that corrupt practices in defense purchases plagued Ukraine for decades, stressing that the country needs to eliminate the "Soviet, oligarchic" approach to public funds.

For their professional services, the the agency's employees will receive a "justified and transparent percentage of the orders," Umerov explained.

Also speaking at the opening conference, Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi thanked the ministry for the undertaken reform.

"The Armed Forces must concentrate on their combat tasks, not on obtaining food, clothes, or means of protection," Zaluzhnyi said.

According to the general, the agency should supply the military with high-quality and timely purchases. Some of the agency's chief tasks should be the standardization of procurement procedures and their digitalization, he added.

Two major corruption scandals preceded the ousting of previous Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, one regarding inflated prices for food supplies and the other connected to low-quality winter jackets.

When introducing Umerov as Reznikov's successor in September, President Volodymyr Zelensky named increased transparency in defense procurement as one of the new minister's key tasks.

The Defense Ministry appointed Arsen Zhumadilov as the agency's director on Nov. 1, with the planned launch of the agency in December. The first deliveries are expected in the second quarter of 2024.

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