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

 

Kicked out of Office – But not of His Official Flat

High ranking Ukrainian officials who were lustrated for their connections to the corrupt government of president Viktor Yanukovych have managed to stay in flats, they got because of their job.

This is just one result of a new investigation of free housing for public servants I the city of Lutsk done by the Rivne Agency for Investigative Journalism. They also found that the old ‘tradition’of privatizing flats owned by the authorities continued despite the changes after Maidan.

Border guards, internal affairs employees, security service employees, prosecutors, judges and rescue workers are among the professionals who receive free housing in Lutsk. They use fraudulent schemes to receive service apartments and then privatize them to obtain free housing.

Yuriy Horbach and Valentyna Kutz published the six articles on July 29th 2015:

Read the original investigation (in Ukrainian):

Part 1: “Everybody who received free housing in Lutsk in 2011-2014”

Part 2: “Which non-local border guards received apartments and then left Volyn”

Part 3: “How a lustrated official of the organized crime department and post-Maidan head of the police received their apartments”

Part 4: “How Volyn SBU employees privatized housing in new buildings”

Part 5: “Which Volyn prosecutors received apartments in 2011-2014”

Part 6: “Free apartments for Volyn judges, state officials and rescue workers”

Read the English translation Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6

 

 

How to Make Personal Profit from a National Park

Oleksandr Vertsekha, a former advisor to the governor of Rivne, has managed to turn a job as manager of the Dermansko-Ostozkiy National Park into a profitable business for himself. Reporter Dmytro Bondar from ‘Fourth Power’ investigated the scheme.

Oleksandr Vertsekha became the director of a national park in Rivne thanks to lobbying from the Party of Regions. In four years, he managed to carry out multiple corrupt schemes involving state property and to make money at the taxpayer’s expense. As director, with state budget money, he managed to repurchase a shaggy “amenity building” that he owned in the past and automobiles from his relatives. He hired his relatives and friends to work for him. Even after being accused of criminal activities, he was re-hired to the same park, covered by the ministry and now is the candidate to be its future director.

The investigation was carried out by Dmytro Bondar from Fourth Power and published on June 30. 2015.

Read the original article

Read the English translation

 

 

 

Deputy Ministers Make Rules for Their Own Businesses

Conflict of Interest: According to Ukrainian legislation, any person obtaining a job in the government has to leave management positions in private businesses.But reporters Yuriy Vinnichuk and Dmitriy Korol of Insider proved that some ministers and deputy ministers neglected this legislative requirement.

The three-part investigation show that many ministers and deputy ministers not only own stakes and shares in multiple businesses, but specifically in businesses directly connected to their activity in government, which presents conflicts of interest. The article also proved that many of the deputies of certain ministers were acquainted and business partners before they got their present positions.

The picture shows First Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Martinenko, politically responsible for the coal sector and according to the State Register of Legal Entities also owner of everal companies and one public organization.

Read the original articles (in Russian): Article 1Article 2Article 3

Read the English translation


 

Undercover in a Filthy Kitchen

A correspondent of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” in Belarus worked for a month without a health certificate at a kitchen with Asians and learned what was hidden from the eyes of customers.

Olga Deksnis’ series was published in six parts.

Read the original article: Part 1Part 2Part 3 Part 4Part 5Part 6

Read the English translation – Part 1 Part 2

The series was not supported by SCOOP, but is the result of a SCOOP training program.

 

 

How to steal a flat

Ukrainian judges, police officers, state prosecutors and other officials are entitled to a flat when the have to move to another city to take up a new position. This has developed into a scheme where officials systematically convert these publicly owned flats into their private property.

Reporters from the Rivne Agency for Investigative Journalism Fourth Power, Yuriy Horbach and Valentyna Kuts, published a three-part investigation into the allocation of 800 apartments in the city of Lutsk in Northwestern Ukraine.

Read the original articles:

Part one was published on March 20, 2015 at  http://4vlada.com/investigations/42220

Part two was also published on March 20, 2015 at http://4vlada.com/investigations/42065

Part three was published on March 23, 2015 at http://4vlada.com/investigations/42232

Read the English translations

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

 

 

Masters of a Ski Paradise

The Ukrainian skiing resort Bukovel is a perfect example of how the business elite around former president Viktor Yanukovych – his son and bodyguard included – got hold of profitable companies.

This investigation looked into the ownership of the biggest, most developed, and most profitable downhill skiing resort in Ukraine, Bukovel, which is visited by about one million tourists every year.

Initially, the land was purchased from the local community by a company, the ownership of which leads to Privat Group that belongs to one of the biggest oligarchs in Ukraine, Ihor Kolomoyskiy. However, later, when ex-president Viktor Yanukovych came to power, there must have been pressure from his family because a lot of land and infrastructure was given away to “the family.”

The reporters Nataliya Onysko and Sasha Hubytska published their investigation into the ownership of Bukovel on March 24, 2015 on the Zakhid.net website.

Read the original story

Read the English translation

 

Cheap land for the president

The Tsar Village in southern Kyiv is a very expensive residential area where the Ukrainian elite is living in  magnificent mansions. It turns out that Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko also owns property there, and that he got it very cheap.

Dmytro Korol from the internet portal Insider investigated the matter and published two articles about the Tsar Village. One focusing on Poroshenkos investment and one on the property owned by the former minister of internal affairs, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who is now accused of several crimes and wanted by the authorities.

The original articles were published on March 31 2015 and April 9 2015 here:

Read the English translations here and here

Cheap Margarine and Rotten Carrots for Children

The reporters Lyubov Chayka and Aleksandr Ofitserov from the website of Mestnie Vesti were chocked when they checked the quality of food in the Kindergartens of the city of Melitopol. Cheap margarine and rotten carrots are on the menu.

Nobody cares about the quality of the food for the children, even if there are very specific norms and obligatory public test systems. And it’s even worse: The two reporters decided to investigate the matter, because there was a scandal about the quality of food two years ago. Nobody was punished, and everything went back to “normal”.

The material was published on 19 November 2014 on the website of Mestnie Vest.

Read the original investigation here

Read the English translation