The SBI has stopped a large-scale corruption scheme of crossing the demarcation line by officials in Zaporizhzhia region
The State Bureau of Investigation in close coordination with state and law enforcement agencies systematically fights against corruption schemes of officials, especially when it comes to the war zone and the residents who live in the adjacent areas or temporarily occupied territories.
Following the protocol decision of the coordination council headed by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin on crime counteraction under martial law, the SBI started a set of preventive and procedural measures to combat corruption practices in this sphere.
Under the procedural guidance of the Office of the Prosecutor General and in close cooperation with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine - Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk, the State Bureau of Investigation exposed a large-scale scheme of illicit enrichment in Zaporizhzhya. The daily illicit profit amounted to 2 million hryvnias.
In May 2022, the Defence Council of the Zaporizhzhya region approved the Procedure of crossing the demarcation line by Ukrainian citizens. According to this Procedure, Ukrainians have to submit the required applications, which are reviewed by the authorized officials, and on its basis, the respective lists are formed.
The order was approved so that the Ukrainians could move safely and quickly through the demarcation line, but some individuals of the Zaporizhia regional military-civilian administration of the city council, as well as the law enforcement agencies, organized a malicious scheme to obtain illegal income for "quick" review of such applications.
To do this, they created fake obstacles, delayed time, or intentionally made mistakes during documents' registration. As a result, the time of applications' consideration was unreasonably prolonged and took from 4 to 5 days, or the person was not allowed to go through the demarcation line at all, because the documents contained inaccurate data.
To speed up the procedure, people concerned were offered to pay. A whole system of fees was developed, depending on the means of transportation or the speed of examining the application. In particular, one car could bring up to 800 U.S. dollars of illicit income. Specially engaged mediators received the money.
Today, on September 13th, employees of the SBI conducted over 20 searches in the Zaporizhzhia Regional Public Prosecution Office, the City Council, and region law enforcement agencies, as well as persons who may be involved in this malicious scheme. As a result, the following were seized: draft records, documents, illegally received money, means of communication, and other things.
Among other things, the investigators of the SBI detained one of the mediators "on the spot" at the moment of transferring the money in the amount of 1,400 USD for the "positive" consideration of the person's application. The detainee promised to solve the issue of necessary documents for travel to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine within only two days for a "symbolic" fee.
The scheme has been broken, we will not allow profiting from the tragedy of citizens during the war.
A notification of suspicion to the perpetrators is being prepared.
The Bureau's work towards strengthening the resilience to malpractice under martial law continues in close cooperation with all governmental authorities.