Ukraine uncovers major arms corruption worth USD 40 million, 5 arrested

The amount was earmarked to buy weapons for the ongoing war with Russia

Ukraine Arms Corruption (File) A Ukrainian serviceman of the 3rd Assault Brigade fires a 122mm mortar towards Russian positions at the front line, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine | AP

Ukraine’s investigation uncovered major arms corruption amounting to USD 40 million. According to SBU, employees from a Ukrainian arms firm conspired with defence ministry officials to embezzle the amount set aside to buy 10,000 mortar shells for the ongoing war with Russia.

In connection with the charge, five people were arrested and one person was detained. They will face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

The investigation was being conducted to clamp down on corruption in a bid to speed up its membership in the European Union and NATO. Anti-graft reforms were demanded by the blocs before Ukraine to join in.

When came to power in 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to fight against corruption.

According to security officials the current investigation dates back to August 2022, when officials signed a contract for artillery shells worth 1.5 billion hryvnias (USD 39.6 million) with arms firm Lviv Arsenal, reported The Associated Press.

According to the investigators, the money was sent to various accounts in Ukraine and the Balkans. Though payment was made in advance, with funds transferred abroad to deliver the weapons, no arms were ever provided.

Ukraine's prosecutor general said that the funds have since been seized and will be returned to the country's defense budget.

"According to the investigation, former and current high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defence and heads of affiliated companies are involved in the embezzlement," SBU said.

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