Detention or bail of 3 million dollars. Pechersk court judge Oleh Bilotserkivets announced such a decision regarding Major General of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Dmytro Marchenko on November 12.
Many doubt the possibility to submit such a bail. Many soldiers and public figures continue to support the arrested General. Moreover, apparently, support is growing.
At the same time, the head of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) announced the election of a preventive measure for four suspects in the so-called “case on defective armored vests.”
“I will remind you that the investigation believes that these people intentionally, by prior agreement, purchased thousands of defective bullet-proof vests for the soldiers. Forensics proved that they can be shot through. The cost of the concluded contract is 7,2 million dollars,” Roman Truba said.
What is the case about?
On June 26, the SBI investigators searched staff of the Defense Ministry and the former adviser to President Petro Poroshenko, Yuriy Biryukov.
According to the head of SBI Roman Truba, the searches were related to investigation of corruption scheme in purchases of low-quality goods for soldiers at inflated prices.
According to Focus agency, Truba said it was about the purchase of 20,000 bulletproof vests, where three of five bulletproof vests could be shot through.
Damage to the state because of these actions, was estimated at 4 million dollars. Truba also added that the Ministry of Defense had purchased 100,000 low-quality outfits and unusable tents.
At the time, the allegations sounded that one of the leaders of Defense Ministry and heads of ministry departments were involved in collusion with the commercial companies.
According to the SBI head, officials knew that the products they purchased did not meet the requirements.
In total, 40 searches were held at the time, during which, according to Truba, 11,000 bulletproof vests were found and seized. The cases had been investigated by then for two months, but suspicion had not been announced.
Ukrainian Truth agency reported that armored vests were purchased from Temp-3000 company according to Prozorro system. The company dismissed all the allegations in its address, saying “all armored vests and helmets produced by the company meet the Technic Specifications approved in 2003, and since then, changes in design of armored vests were aimed only at improving the performance characteristics of products.”
In July, the SBI made public conversations allegedly between Defense Ministry workers who purchased the Corsair M3s of 1-4 class bulletproof vests.
A week ago, the State Bureau of Investigation notified five top officials of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine of suspicion in purchase of low-quality bulletproof vests Corsair, as the SBI head Roman Truba reported.
According to him, the suspicion was announced to the chief of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, deputies of the department and heads of departments.
At the same time, it was found that the Ministry of Defense purchased 20,000 bulletproof vests worth 7,2 million dollars, however, 7,000 bulletproof vests were defective. The total cost of loss is 2,5 million dollars.
Truba reported that in rainy conditions, these bulletproof vests could be shot through.
Corsair M3 is a bulletproof vest designed and manufactured by the Ukrainian company Temp-3000. It was developed in 2002 for Ukrainian peacekeepers. The first samples were tested in combat conditions in Iraq, Lebanon and the Balkans.
The head of the Main Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine Dmytro Marchenko was detained with the bail of 3 million dollars.
Preventive measures will be chosen for another four suspects later. The SBI believes that there will be more suspects.
In an interview with novynarnia.com in October, Marchenko said that he had not been summoned for questioning after the June searches, and he had the status of a witness.
When asked about SBI’s claims, Marchenko said:
“I think it is altogether. The claims of producers and the political moment are 100% here. Unfortunately, I am being tied in a way that “if Marchenko receives any punishment, everyone will understand that this is Poroshenko's retribution. But where am I and where is Poroshenko?...I also see that I am not a very comfortable person because I am telling the truth.”
He also noted that he did not “see” any judicial prospects in the case. At the same time, Marchenko filed a counterclaim on the SBI.
As for the armored vests, Marchenko stated the following:
“In fact, with bulletproof vests, everything was fine. But the SBI lied on me all over the country. My father had two heart attacks, because rumors are circling among neighboring grandmothers: Look, we thought Dmytro was a hero, and he turns out to be so mean to our soldiers!”
“I am ready to take full responsibility for all that is happening to me. If they find any defective vests at my place and prove that it came from me, by my order, I myself will ask the court for the maximum term. But if not, why say the lies about me?!” he emphasized.
What happened at the court?
According to Novynarnia, Hero of Ukraine Yevhen Mezhevykin, MP Akhtem Chiygoz, another few lawmakers and volunteer Oleksiy Molchanov were ready to bail out Marchenko.
Besides, former lawmaker Boryslav Bereza also spoke out concerning the court.
“The experts clearly stated that General Marchenko did not handle procurements but he wrote technical specifications. All procurements pass the tender committee of the Defense Ministry. But for some reason, they are not the defendants. As well as those who held the expert study of the armored vests and those who approve them are not defendants. It is strange. The one who bears the blame is Marchenko. It is surprising that he is also not accused of sexual assault on the fact that he has the organ and he could do it potentially”.
Lawyer Volodymyr Okhrymenko said that Marchenko came to the court voluntary; he was not even summoned by the court for the consideration of the session.
“We came to the court voluntary, he was not in custody, he was not detained and we insisted that we are able to perform procedural duties, so, there is no need to choose so strict restrictive measure toward him”.
The court decided otherwise; the defense is going to appeal. The Defense Ministry reacted to the arrest of Marchenko, stating that such decision is surprising.