Corruption Scandals Mean Officials Are Resigning But Nothing Else — Radio Svoboda Journalist by Громадське Телебачення   3 years ago

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What You Need To Know:
✓ As a result of Radio Svoboda's investigation into the head of the Kyiv traffic police which revealed unexplained and extreme wealth, he resigned;
✓ However, instead of personally investigating the origins of the wealth the Minister of Interior, Arsen Avakov, told reporters that he was sad to lose such a "professional";
✓ Together with the Organized Crime and Corruption Project , Sedletska also researched the ownership structures of Ukrainian media outlets. They discovered that 43 out of the 60 media outlets in Ukraine had offshore structures.


Hromadske spoke with Natalie Sedletska, a journalist from Radio Svoboda, about their investigation into the now ex-head of the Kyiv traffic police, Oleksandr Yershov, who resigned from his post after their published their findings. Though officially Yershov earnt just a few hundred dollars a month, he and his family had assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s exciting for me as investigative journalist. I posted my story in the morning and by the evening the head of the traffic police quit,” said Sedletska.

The investigation started when they asked for an official declaration of the income of the head of the traffic police and they declined to give it to Radio Svoboda. “So we decided if you’re declining to give us public information, then you are hiding something,” said Sedletska. The team of investigative journalists discovered that he had been residing in a undeclared house for many years which meant he was not abiding by anti-corruption legislation. “The fact is they still haven’t given us the declaration,” Sedletska told Hromadske.

On the one hand it is good that Yershov resigned, said Sedletska, however, she added that the Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov should personally investigate the origin of the assets of the family. The prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into Yershov, according to Sedletska, but meanwhile Avakov told reporters that he was saddened to lose such a “professional” because of the scandal.

Sedletska told Hromadske that recently it has become common for officials to resign as a result of scandal, which was not the case before. However, they are rarely prosecuted and it is unlikely that a real investigation into their wrongdoings will be conducted. Though she hopes that the new traffic police will signal change, it is worrying that Avakov is still prepared to work with people like Yershov.

Together with the Organized Crime and Corruption Project , Sedletska also researched the ownership structures of Ukrainian media outlets. They discovered that 43 out of the 60 media outlets in Ukraine had offshore structures. The idea behind the research, according to Sedletska, was to help people understand what is the origin of the information, who is dictating the editorial policy, and what is the real influence on the information.

The interactive Media Ownership Project on Ukraine and other East European countries can be found here:https://www.reportingproject.net/media/

Hromadske International's Nataliya Gumenyuk and Ian Bateson spoke with Natalie Sedletska on June 14, 2015.


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