INTERNATIONAL

New corruption case at Ukraine defense ministry related to purchase of shells

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it uncovered an attempt by some officials to purchase artillery shells at inflated prices, revelations that came after Defense Minister Rustem Umerov pledged to weed out corruption in the military sphere.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his end-of-the-year news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine.(AP)

One official was detained and others were dismissed from their posts as a result of the investigation, the ministry said in a statement.

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The joint probe conducted by the State Security Service and General Prosecutor’s Office found that a group of officials led by the head of the department for ammunition production took payment on a contract for artillery shells that was above what was stipulated.

According to the statement on the Ministry’s website, a newly established agency of military purchases signed a revised contract that stipulated significantly cheaper prices. Nevertheless, the payment for the shells was made according to previous agreements draw up by the officials targeted in the probe and led to an overpayment of 1.5 billion hryvnia ($40 million).

All the officials involved will be given a polygraph test, the Defense Ministry said on its website.

Umerov became defense minister in early September after his predecessor Oleksii Reznikov was ousted amid allegations of graft in military procurement by subordinates on his watch.

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