Transparency International Ukraine calls for the restoration of mandatory reporting on all procurement, including defense procurement. At the same time, it is necessary to develop a mechanism for concealing sensitive information.
The corruption scandal about the procurement of food for the military is a vivid example of how concealing procurement from the public leads to misunderstandings, conflicts, and potential abuses. Although the Ministry of Defense has published an official clarification of the situation, the public cannot formulate an objective position on it because the documents, except those published by journalists, have not yet been published.
Let us remind you that on January 21, the publication ZN.UA published a material by journalist Yurii Nikolov on the procurement of food for the military for 2023. The text referred to the overpricing of food products, the author published a part of the copy of the contract with the supplier.
Transparency International Ukraine hopes for an objective investigation of the situation by supervisory and law enforcement agencies.
“We do not have all the necessary information to say for sure whether there is abuse in this procurement transaction. But some things really do look suspicious. In particular, the inconsistency of the statements of the Ministry of Defense and the contractor regarding whether the contract is valid, as well as several conditions of this contract, for example, prices for certain goods,” explains Ivan Lakhtionov, Deputy Executive Director of TI Ukraine for Innovation Projects.
Concealed procurement can only cause more scandals, which directly harms Ukraine’s reputation. In addition, the non-publicity of procurement increases the risk of abuse and may reduce the quality of future contracts due to limited market access to government orders.
Procurement by the Ministry of Defense has always been problematic. The minister also acknowledges this. The problem is not only in the procedure itself, but in general — in approaches to ensuring the need. It requires systemic solutions that take time to develop.
However, the disclosure of information about such procurement is a step that needs to be taken now. When procurement is transparent, it can be promptly inspected by regulatory authorities and the public. This allows avoiding abuse in the early stages, as well as prevent scandals. Sensitive information from contracts should be concealed.
This publication has been prepared with the financial support of the European Union. Its content is the sole responsibility of Transparency International Ukraine and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.