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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Transport Minister Accused of Squandering $80,000 on Private Charter Flight to Paris

The mind boggles at how much wing clipping must be done to have our government work for our people, and not the other way around.

The SBU on Friday interrogated Minister of Transport and Communication Mykola Rudkovsky, a scandal-scarred member of the outgoing — hopefully — Yanukovych Cabinet.

Maryna Ostapenko, a spokeswoman for the SBU, linked Rudkovsky to an investigation warranted by Article 191 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (Embezzlement, squandering, or misappropriation of property through abuse of authority.)

The investigation concerns a round-trip private jet flight to Paris on Jun. 9 through Jun. 12, paid for by the government, on which Rudkovsky, according to Tabloid (Ukr), was accompanied by Oleksandra Nikolayenko, Miss Ukraine 2001. Rudkovsky, who argues that the trip was part of an official visit, said that in the event it is established that an unauthorized person was on board, their airfare should be paid.

He claims not being aware of the high cost of his “official visit” while being fully aware that Lutsenko and Yatsenyuk have used the same privileges. He also claims being the target of reprisals for criticizing the purchase of a new Airbus jet for President Yushchenko. More quotes from Rudkovsky:

This wrathful reaction can be attributed to my principled position and to the efficiency of my work, while the flight itself was part of a state visit, which is supported by the submitted documents.

I would also like to state that throughout my term of office I have personally paid for a number of job-related trips, and I do not demand a reimbursement for these expenses.

Consider Yuriy Lutsenko — took more than ten trips with his family to Crimea. Consider Arseniy Yatsenyuk — paid for his trips from the budget and from the ministry's funds. I, as a Minister, know how much flying is done by the Chief of the Presidential Secretariat, by members of the Presidential Secretariat, and by the [President's] family.

If Mr. acting SBU Director is interested in my personal life, he'd better assume a position under my bed. Not much will be seen from there, but the hearing will be fine.



Srebrenica Massacre Editor said...

I am not surprised. The Government ministers here in Canada (and I presume elsewhere) also decide how much they will give a pay raise to themselves. Should we (tax payers) be decising how much they get paid, for example?

Taras said...

I've heard about the blessings of Canadian bureaucracy. In Ukraine, it's a lot worse, though. Here they do whatever they want, and get away with it.

Daniel said...

Taras, our MPs are paid whopping $150,000+ /year in Canada doing nothing. Considering that Canadian dollar is stronger... (ops, as of today, CAD $ is same strength as US dollar) it's more than obvious that MPs are leading a nice life doing nothing (they don't even show up regularly in the Parliament to vote on important issues).

Anonymous said...

"Miss Ukraine participated in the clip" ---- is this the same Miss Ukraine or another one???

I demand a committee to investigate morals/ethics of the crowned beauties and the pageant. Esp. with Miss World in the background.

As for Rudkovsky not only do they do whatever they want, get away with it but also cannot even be tried for it, no wonder some live like pashas, potentates and princes. Power of the pechatka!


Taras said...

Luida, I think it was some other Miss Ukraine, a freshly minted one. And why not bring the incredible Poplavsky to the scene? He’d rock the party!

I’m sure Rudkovsky will walk just like the rest of them. The only guy who got a little grounded is Lazarenko, who was tried in California.

Daniel, that’s a lot of money. Canadian taxpayers should know what they’re paying for, and whether the quality of government they receive is worth the cost.

Ukrainian MPs make about $40K in base pay, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Judging by their spending, it is widely believed that the lion's share of their earnings comes from “off the balance sheet” financing.