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Transparency International: 'Suspicious' companies winning contracts to reconstruct Irpin

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 1, 2023 4:22 PM 2 min read
Workers demolish a bombarded block of flats amid reconstruction efforts in Irpin, Kyiv Oblast, on May 13, 2023. Irpin was targeted by indiscriminate Russian bombardments at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The financing of the reconstruction of Irpin is "opaque", according to the DOZORRO project team of Transparency International Ukraine. In April 2022, the total costs of reconstruction was estimated at $1 billion dollars.

The report notes that out of 547 contracts awarded by the Irpin City Council, the Specialized Regional Department, and the Reconstruction Service for Kyiv Region, only 28 were concluded using ProZorro.  

ProZorro is Ukraine’s electronic public procurement system, designed to increase transparency and competition in the bidding process.

Launched in 2016, it is designed to streamline the process for companies to participate in bids and tracks the entire procurement process electronically, helping to reduce corruption and improve efficiency.

So far, the researchers conclude that the total worth of contracts for rebuilding the city are worth Hr 933 million ($25 million) in total. However, six companies with "a suspicious background" have been granted contracts worth Hr 434 million ($11.7 million), or almost half of the total amount.

These companies range from having connections to pro-Russian parties, to having already been "caught by law enforcement more than once."

This includes I.B.K. Development, which won contracts worth Hr 135 million ($3.7 million). Over the last few years, it has been investigated for various types of fraud, including overestimating the amount of work performed for a project.

The researchers also visited the residents of five buildings in Irpin that the contracts claimed had already been repaired, but heard from the inhabitants "that in these houses the contractors mainly replaced the windows and did almost nothing else."

The research was conducted by investigative journalist Daryna Synytska and public procurement analyst Yaroslav Pylypenko.

They noted that some costs have already been covered by international organizations like UNICEF, UNDP, Open Door Ukraine, and Terre des Hommes Italy.

Irpin, a city just outside Kyiv, became one of the symbolic sites of Russian terror in Ukraine. It was liberated by Ukrainian forces on March 28, 2022.

Officials accused of using war as pretext for hiding ill-gotten wealth
As Ukrainian soldiers are defending their homeland on the front line, officials in the rear are accused of using the war as a pretext for hiding their wealth. They are able to do so because one of Ukraine’s main anti-corruption tools, the asset declaration system, has been effectively eliminated.

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