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.