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The office of the State Bureau of Investigation in Kyiv on Sept. 21, 2020. (Olena Khudiakova/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Former senior Defense Ministry officials suspected of embezzling funding for military supplies have been formally accused and will appear in court, the State Bureau of Investigation announced on April 17.

The State Bureau of Investigation is a Ukrainian law enforcement agency that primarily deals with pre-trial investigations into high-ranking officials and those in positions of power or authority.

The group of officials, including a former deputy defense minister, is accused of intentionally ordering poor-quality supplies from abroad to embezzle the funds.

The procurement process involved a 100% advance payment and a violation of "the procedure for monitoring the quality of the goods," according to the Bureau.

As a result, Ukrainian soldiers "received low-quality body armor that cannot be used in combat without endangering life," the Bureau said.

"This led not only to the loss of 222 million hryvnias ($5.6 million) of state budget funds, but also to the undermining of the country's defense capabilities, a threat to the lives and health of the personnel of the Armed Forces," the Bureau said.

The former deputy defense minister is specifically accused of lobbying for contracts for supplies like ammunition, bulletproof vests, helmets, and clothes at "inflated prices and of low quality."

The corruption scheme amounted to a total value of over Hr 1.4 billion ($35 million), the Bureau said.

The officials are suspected not only of embezzlement, but also of obstructing the activities of the Armed Forces. If convicted, they can face up to 15 years in prison.

Latest defense corruption case goes after officials allegedly tied to deadly ammunition shortage
It would have been an ordinary Ukrainian story: Officials and their associates accused of embezzling money on procurements and using procedural trickery to avoid criminal charges. The difference is in the body count. The officials worked for the Defense Ministry and were supposed to procure 100,000…
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