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Rivne Oblast forestry officials dismissed amid illicit enrichment scandal

by Dmytro Basmat November 30, 2023 4:04 AM 2 min read
Cash discovered during searches of Rivne Oblast administration deputy suspected of illicit enrichment. Photo published on Nov. 25, 2023. (Prosecutor General's Office/Telegram)
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All directors of the Forests of Ukraine state enterprise in Rivne Oblast have been dismissed, amid an illicit enrichment scandal that has rocked the organization, Director General of the Forests of Ukraine confirmed on Nov. 29.

"As promised last week, personnel changes have begun in the forestry sector. Today, the decision was made to dismiss all directors of the Rivne branches," said Director General Yurii Bolokhovets.

The organization's restructuring came amid an ongoing investigation into the alleged illicit enrichment of a deputy head of the organization.

Following the dismissal of ex-deputy head Vitalii Sukhovych, searches of the suspect's residence and office led to the discovery of over $4 million in various cash currencies, three expensive cars, gold, weaponry, jewelry, and other valuable accessories.

Bolokhovets added that the change of personnel is needed amid "chronic" and "deeply rooted" organizational problems. He did not elaborate on his statement.

Criminal procedures against Sukhovych are ongoing. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Ukraine's ongoing battle against corruption remains prominently in the public eye, aligning with one of the seven criteria recommended by the European Commission for the nation's integration.

Ukraine has made some progress in rooting out corruption since the start of Russia's invasion. A recent report on the start of Ukraine's EU accession talks highlights that Ukraine has "further developed its track record" and is on track to double the number of indictments on corruption charges from previous years.

Stoltenberg: Ukraine’s ability to implement reforms during war is impressive
″(Ukraine has) made concrete changes, not least in the fight against (corruption),” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that these steps help the country “to move closer to NATO membership.”


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