The Real Cost of Elections in Melitopol

One of the main requirements of the Ukrainian election law is for candidates and parties to declare expense for their campaigns. Many of them lied about their actual expenses, declaring much lower ones, while many others decided not to report at all, this investigation documents. All candidates said that the staffs of their campaign headquarters were working for free.

During election campaigns, candidates and political parties use any means to win and don’t care too much about the rules of the law on local elections.

Journalist Yuliya Olkhovska of MV.ORG.UA looks into the issue in the article “Other people’s money. How much candidates and political forces spent on the last elections and on what” on November 26, 2015.

Read the original article

Read the English translation

 

From Ukraine to London with Cash

Property prices are skyrocketing in London. Part of the reason is that elite property is turning into hiding places for dirty money from various countries – among them Ukraine.

Oligarchs and politicians such as Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk, Dmytro Firtash and Olha Kaletnyk have purchased penthouses and apartments where they do not live – they only use them to invest money taken out of Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalists from Radio Svoboda and UA Pershiy went to London and managed to find property that Ukrainian oligarchs are not declaring as theirs.The NGO Transparency International UK is campaigning against foreign criminals laundering money in London, and they are lobbying for the ultimate beneficiaries of real estate deals to be disclosed.

Journalists Natalka Sedletska and Maksym Savchuk of Radio Svoboda produced the program “Kyiv-London: from Ukraine with cash” for the show “Schemes: Corruption in Detail,” which can be viewed on Youtube.

Read the translation to English

Another story documented how companies all over western Europe helped Yanukovish’s aides hide their money in real estate

Ukrainian Politicians Broke the Rules of Campaigning

Regardless of the new law “On Local Elections,” the Ukrainian election process in October 2015 was again non-transparent, dishonest, and corrupt.

Journalists from the Mykolaiv Center for Investigative Journalism looked into expenses for exterior advertising that was officially declared by political parties and candidates and compared that to the real cost. In some cases, the figures differed by as much as 50 times.

Political forces not only violated the law by starting campaigns much sooner than allowed, they also paid for advertising from sources other than their election funds. Political parties just bought advertising instead of actually communicating with voters, and people remained unaware of what was behind the glossy posters.

The article “Price of a mandate: what political parties conceal” by reporters Tetyana Haydabas and Olena Nefedova of the Mykolaiv Center for Investigative Journalism was published on October 24, 2015.

Read the original article

Read the English translation

 

 

The Army Protects a Very Private Secret

 

 

The Ukrainian army is not only using its Yavoriv training field for training, but also for a private hunting ground and marina. This land was part of the biggest military training field in Ukraine and hunting and fishing was prohibited there.

Nevertheless, what was prohibited for some people was allowed for others. Now Lviv oligarchs and military officials can enjoy unlimited hunting and fishing there.

Reporter Nataliya Onysko managed to find both the hunting ground and get photos of  a new hunting cottage belonging to the honorary president of the football club Karpaty in Lviv, but otherwise it’s a very murky matter. No documents, no comments from the Ministry of Defence, no access. The article ‘Dyminskiys Secret Marina’ was published  on the website Zakhid.net on November 30th.

 

Read the original article

 

Read the English translation

 

 

A Very Special Passport Service

People who apply for international passports or other services at the Rivne branch of the State Migration Service pay extra handwritten bills. Most applicants just pay the bills without asking any questions, despite the fact that they have to pay to an account of an unknown private entrepreneur.

Journalist Dmytro Bondar of the Rivne Agency for Investigative Journalism information agency in his investigation of the scheme e.g. found out that the person, who has been the head of this ‘passport’ institution in Rivne for many years is even running for the city council on the ticket of president Poroshenkos party.

The article  “At the migration service in Rivne region, there is a new scam: an investigation” was published on November 3, 2015.

Read the original article

Read the English translation

 

 

Journalist Goes Undercover to Reveal Internet Brothels

A Ukrainian journalist went undercover to get a job with an Internet brothel in Lutsk, where she gathered evidence from other women working there and from communicating with clients – strip dancing with them.

The whole set up is strange: The owner of the company is a former top official from the Volyn police department, and the owner of the office where the company was located is the policeman’s brother.

Internet brothels are illegal in Ukraine, but the police is not eager to investigate them.

Reporter Maryana Metelska of the Rivne Agency for Investigative Journalism published the article “A journalist finds an Internet-brothel in a Lutsk building that belongs to an ex-police officer: an investigation” on October 21, 2015 at 4vlada.

Read the original story

Read the English translation

 

 

Driver’s Licenses for Sale

In Ukraine everybody knows that driver’s licenses can be purchased for money, even without knowing how to drive or knowing the rules. Even though everybody knows about that, the police never arrest anyone and this corrupt scheme flourishes. In the meantime, 5000 people are killed on the roads each year.

In order to collect evidence, the journalist’s friend ordered a driver’s license, and one month later for just UAH 3,500 ( 155  USD) he had a driver’s license, medical book and certificate on his graduating from driving school.  Dmytro Bondar from Fourth Power published the article “Driver’s license for sale: an investigation into corruption in the Interregional Registration and Examination Department of the Rivne Road Police” on October 15, 2015 at 4vlada.

Read the original investigation

Read the English translation

 

How to Turn Poison into Gold

The Kalush-region in Ukraine is a very dangerous place to live. There is pollution (hexachlorobenzene) at a scale, one cannot grasp. And the clean-up operation turned into a scandal that made some very rich and left the region just as polluted as it was before.

A group of Ukrainian journalists took a closer look at both the poisonous landfills and pits and at the money involved.

First, the article “Kalush and the Dead Sea” by reporter Olha Skrypnyk, in collaboration with SCOOP colleagues in other countries, was published on July 24, 2015 by the website ZN.UA.

Read the story in English

Later on, a follow-up video came on the news of the TV channel Social Nation by reporter Tetyana Rikhtun. The program was published on September 17, 2015 on YouTube .

The videoshowed how hexachlorobenzene was not the main problem in Kalush region. Much more serious are the hazards of landslides and cracks, which have already “swallowed” many homes in two villages; cancer rates are the highest in the region and are blamed on the toxic pollutants; and there is a danger of saline getting into the ground water and poisoning the drinking water sources, etc.

Read the English translation

 

Vinnytsya Water: Every Sip Calls for your Courage

Water from the tap in the Ukrainian town of Vinnytsya smells badly, it tastes badly, citizens don’t like it. But according to the waterworks the drinking water complies to all state norms, and the chief sanitary doctor Iryna Odnostalko sees no problems here: ‘If you drink the water from the tap, trust me, it will not harm your health’.

But the citizens of Vinnytsya do not like the water, because of the smell and taste. So journalists from the Rivne Agency for Investigative Journalism did an investigation of the water services of Vinnytsya and e.g. took samples for analysis in eight districts. It does comply with public standards, but experts demand tests on more in-depth indicators such as neurotoxicity, chlorine and metals.

Part 1 “On Water From the Faucet: Chlorine Smell, Bad Taste, Sediment” by reporter Oksana Polishchuk was published on July 8, 2015.

Part 2 “The Water Service Explained Why Our Water Smells Bad” by reporters Oksana Polishchuk and  was published on July 15, 2015.

Part 3 “What Pipes Does Drinking Water ‘Go Through’ to Reach Vinnytsya Residents?” by reporter Oksana Polishchuk was published on July 22, 2015.

Part 4 “RIA Journalists Investigated Faucet Water in an Independent Laboratory” by reporters Oksana Polishchuk and Evheniy Frolov was published on July 29, 2015.

Part 5 “Good Tests, Bad Water. Why is it so?” by reporter Oksana Polishchuk was published on August 5, 2015.

Read the stories in English

 

It’s Toxic, but It’s Money

Kalush in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine is declared an ‘environmental disaster zone’ and has received a lot of money from the national government for a clean-up. But instead of being used to improve the environment, the money have become a source for fraud and making money illegally.

Very little happens to the thousands of tonnes of  hexachlorobenzene, but local businessmen have found a source of easy money. And the biggest environmental problem in the region is not the toxic hexaclorbenzene, but – as reporter Olha Skrypnyk found out in cooperation with Scoop-colleagues in other countries – a quarry from an old potash mine. The Ukrainian version was published on Jule 24, 2015.

Read the original investigation (in Ukrainian)

Read the English translation