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11 September, 2018
How to Reduce Corruption Risks in Ukraine’s Defence Procurement?
A considerable part of defence procurement should be declassified in order to reduce corruption risks, increase market competitiveness and improve Ukraine's defence capability. Furthermore, abiding by internationally accepted best practices will bring Ukraine closer to the EU and NATO. This was a main message expressed during the Seminar on Defence Procurement which was devoted to bringing Ukraine closer to the EU Directive on Defence Procurement 2009/81/EC. The seminar, organized jointly by the Independent Anti-Corruption Defence Committee (NAKO), the Norwegian Center for Integrity in the Defenсe Sector (CIDS) and the Reforms Project Office of the Ministry of Defenсe of Ukraine, became a platform where stakeholders exchanged their views on the vision of reforming the procurement system in the defence and security sector. Senior managers of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the National Security and Defence Council, the NATO office and EU Delegation in Ukraine. MPs, Ministry of Defence purchasers and representatives of the civil society also participated in the discussion.

The movement towards greater transparency has begun. Deputy Minister of Defence on European Integration Lt. Gen. Anatoly Petrenko stated: "Reforming the procurement system is a strategic task for the Ministry of Defence. Ann Kristin Bjergene, Deputy Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine, noted that reforming the State Secret protection system is one of the key elements which will lead to the defence procurement reforms. Hugues Mingarelli, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, stressed that one of the key institutions responsible for secrecy is the Security Service of Ukraine, and therefore it is necessary to pass the law on the SSU reform.

First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleg Gladkovsky, said that a new law on the State Defence Order (DOZ) is being already finalized within the National Security and Defence Council. Deputy Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee for Security and Defence, Ivan Vinnik,  noted that the amendments to the law on DOZ have been already prepared, and he hopes that this will lead to the declassification of half of the DOZ: «Up to 50% of DOZ is the purchase or repair of the Soviet-style equipment or ammunition. Characteristics of such equipment do not constitute a national secret, knowing of them does not give a significant strategic advantage. What is really the State Secret, it’s Bohdan, Villa, Sapsan, Stugna, Corsar. These things contain a significant culture of know-how and intellectual things developed in Ukraine. That is what should be kept secret.»

Notably, the Head of the state defence enterprise Ukroboronprom, Pavlo Bukin, has also recently claimed that they have completed the new version of the DOZ law. Based on the statements of high officials, one can conclude that the work on updating the DOZ law (which should make purchases more transparent) is taking place, simultaneously, on several platforms.

At the same time, currently classified procurement without the use of competitive procedures may pose significant corruption risks and opportunities for abuse. This is one of the conclusions contained within the recently released research entitled "Six Red Flags: The Biggest Corruption Risks in Ukraine's Defence Procurement" which was conducted, and presented at the seminar, by the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee. Olena Tregub, NAKO Secretary General: "NAKO has provided a list of risk indicators, highlighting the 6 most widespread corruption risks in Ukraine’s defence procurement. It will be useful not only for the Ministry of Defence officials responsible for procurement, but also for auditors, activists, journalists and organizations monitoring procurement and exercising public oversight". You can read the research "Six "Red Flags: the most frequent corruption risks in Ukraine's defence procurement" here: Ukraine_Six_Red_Flags_Eng
Background Information. The Seminar on "Defence Procurement Based on Western Standards 2009/81/EC" was held on September 11, 2018 in Kyiv. It was jointly organized by the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO), the Norwegian Center for Integrity in Defence Sector (CIDS) and the MOD Reforms Project Office. It was held to discuss the need to bring Ukraine’s MOD procurement closer to the EU standards. As a result of the event, it is planned to create an interdepartmental working group that will work on bringing Ukraine’s defence procurement legislation to European standards.