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.
CF “Patients of Ukraine”:
“All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS”: