Олена Єрмоленко

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This was announced at the press-briefing by desperate mothers who handcuffed themselves. Their children may be left without treatment because of absurd criminal proceedings related to Anakinra, a costly drug for treatment of primary immunodeficiency.

Patients’ Organizations Call Tymoshenko to Stop Manipulating the Theme of International Pharmaceutical Procurement

41 patients’ organizations released an open letter to Julia Tymoshenko calling her not to voice unverified information about international pharmaceutical procurement and not to discredit the reform so important for all patients.

New Executive Director of the CF «Patients of Ukraine» Elected

Inna Boiko is elected as the Executive Director of the CF «Patients of Ukraine». This decision was made by the members of the Foundation at the annual meeting.

General Prosecutor’s Office Closed Criminal Case against CF "Patients of Ukraine"

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine made a decision on closing the criminal case filed against the Charitable Foundation “Patients of Ukraine”. The letter from the GPO indicates that the criminal case in relation to CF “Patients of Ukraine” was terminated on November 14, 2017 “owing to the absence of elements of a crime in its actions”.“From the very beginning we kept saying that we were not afraid of any inspections as we had nothing to hide, comments Inna Boiko, Acting Director of the Foundation, – It’s a great pity that we had to waste almost six months to prove our point. It was six months of nerves and efforts of all our colleagues, who had to look through the files of three years back and attend court trials”. Interestingly, that the GPO letter also specifies the reason for filing the criminal case, in particular: “…entry in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations based on information from mass media about financial crime”. Unfortunately, it is equally disappointing that the real crimes at the prompting of journalists investigators are not always under inquiry. It is to be recalled that the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine filed a criminal case against CF “Patients of Ukraine” for “procurement of medicines at inflated prices” and “embezzlement in relation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in especially large amounts”.  That said, the CF “Patients of Ukraine” never procured medicines and was never involved in this activity, while the Global Fund with its regular external auditing of the targeted use of resources by the CF “Patients of Ukraine” never found any violations. In October 2017 the investigation moved into its active phase, when the investigators from the General Police Directorate of Ukraine received access to the files of the Foundation with the right to suppress all documents for the whole post-Maidan period of 2014-2017. In January 2018 the Foundation was under extraordinary tax inspection assigned by the Peshersk court. It emerged that the investigation continued after the case had been closed by the GPO in November 2017, which was illegal. Once the prosecutor closes the case, further investigation is terminated in compliance with the law. At the same time the Tax Inspection Service did not reveal any violations of the law in the work of the CF “Patients of Ukraine” and confirmed the targeted use of the grant resources, however the fact of this tax inspection taking place after the case was closed is illegal.

National Police Seizes Documents in the Largest Patients’ Organizations. Activists Claim Pressure from the Authorities

Today, on October 11, investigators of the Main Department of the National Police of Ukraine with approval of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine came with the ruling of the Pechersk District Court to seize the documents from the office of the Charitable Fund “Patients of Ukraine”. According to this ruling the documents are suppressed from the CF “Patients of Ukraine” and CO “All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS” for emergency tax inspection and audit as well as for forensic economic and graphologic examination. The National Police and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine blame the leadership of these organizations in embezzlement of the assets f the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “We regard these steps of the law enforcement authorities exclusively as pressure on the patients’ anticorruption organizations”,  states Olga Stefanyshyna, the Executive Director of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. “Our organizations are regularly audited and all our financial documents are in open access on the websites. We are supported by the largest international organizations, so legal action against us is an undeniable attempt to intimidate and paralyze the work of our organizations”. It is noteworthy that the Global Fund regularly attracts external auditors to confirm the target use of the funds by the organizations recipients. “Our organizations regularly undergo special audits by the audit companies, specifically at the request of the Global Fund, and no violations were detected. Surprisingly, the organization that supports us financially does not see any violations in the use of its own money, while Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are trying to file criminal case against us”, adds Olga Stefanyshyna. Activists also associate these actions of the law enforcement officers with the fact that these organizations were engaged in promiring the reform of public procurement of medicines and in delegating this function to the international organizations. This reform, according to the estimates of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine and anti-corruption organizations, annually saves for Ukraine up to 40% of the state budget for procurement of the medicines. “Tender ‘treasure trove’ is shutdown. The pharmaceutical mafia loses billions on procurement of medicines through the international organizations. Now this money is no longer transferred to the accounts of the shell companies, but used to procure additional medicines for patients”, says Dmitry Sherembey, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian PLWHA Network.  “We, as patients, stand for this reform in order not to give way to the corruption schemes. That is why people who used to cash in on our lives are using the institutional power to frighten us and block our work. It is  nonsense when law enforcers close cases against Bohatyryova’s accomplices and go balls to the wall to fight civic activists”. According to the All-Ukrainian Network of PLHA, they have already received copies of 8 court rulings on opening criminal proceedings against the organizations and on cases filed at the Security Service of Ukraine. It is worth mentioning that 588 organizations receive funding from the Global Fund in Ukraine, including 354 health facilities (AIDS centers, tuberculosis dispensaries), 124 correctional institutions and 100 NGOs The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established by the United Nations in January 2002 to assist in  funding the national AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs in countries with a low level of own resources. Contact persons CF “Patients of Ukraine”: +380959346241 Olga.p@patients.org.ua Olha Pryshko “All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS”: Maksim Rovinsky m.rovinskyy@network.org.ua +380502996318