Public procurement is a prime source of corruption, says Ukraine’s Chief Auditor

Ukraine has unfortunately become known for its corruption and fraud. It ranks number 134 (out of 178) on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index global ranking; not exactly a Premier League position.

So good luck to the Government'Chief Auditor, Petro Andreyev, a brave man, who has spoken out about corruption and identified the lack of competition in public sector procurement as a key source of that. And he also commented that the new Government wasn't doing any better than the previous. As the zik website reports:

Andreyev revealed that in 2010 the new economy minister, Vasyl Tsushko, signed 2,600 permits in 6 months to buy from sole bidders. By contrast, Tymoshenko cabinet economy minister Bohdan Danylyshyn who is now in hiding abroad had signed about 1,000 such permits in 2 years. “

He sees the problem as endemic and questions the willpower to change things.

“Regrettably, only very few government officials really want to change the present situation for the better,” he said. “The fight against graft is stalled not by organized criminals but by the whole state apparat, including ministers, lawmakers and officials unwilling to lose their profits... Most of the embezzlement takes place during procurement of goods and services by the state. Billions are stolen due to illegal sole-bidder tenders,” Andreyev said.

You would think that this is a situation that can be pretty easily remedied. Just run some competitions. Introduce some basic procurement processes, police them and sack a few people who break the rules. But it is all about the will to do it.

And when we get irritated at the bureaucracy of public procurement in the EU, we should remember that there is a far worse alternative – unfettered corruption.

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