Corruption up 450% in a year in Russian armed forces – prosecutors
MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) – The financial cost of corruption uncovered in the Russian Armed Forces this year has soared 450 percent from last year to over 4.4 billion rubles ($130 million), the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Thursday.
“The amount of damage inflicted on the state by corruption crimes this year rose by five and a half times to over 4.4 billion rubles,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement. "Every third corruption offense is committed by civil servants and civilian personnel."
While the overall number of registered crimes in the Armed Forces has declined, every fifth crime is corruption-related. The number of fraud cases uncovered involving abuse of office rose almost 50 percent in 2013, the statement said.
“There is still a high level of bribe-taking, forgery in public office, abuse of power for selfish interests,” the statement said.
The policy of ridding the Armed Forces of ancillary functions and transferring them to outside organizations, or outsourcing, has caused hundreds of millions of rubles in damages, the Prosecutor General’s Office said.
According to prosecutors, outsourcing functions such as the maintenance of military infrastructure “has not eradicated violations in the use of budget funds and caused losses of hundreds of millions of rubles.”
The Prosecutor General’s Office cited the example of a private company, Security and Communications, which falsified claims about the volume of work it had carried out and illegitimately received over 455 million rubles ($14 million).
Corruption in the Armed Forces is especially rampant in the allocation of federal budget funds for state defense procurement, the prosecutors’ statement said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu previously admitted the system of outsourcing created for the Armed Forces under his predecessor Anatoly Serdyukov had failed to meet expectations, especially in the repair and maintenance of equipment. He insisted, however, the transfer of non-core functions to outside organizations was “an absolutely correct decision.”
The Prosecutor General’s Office also said it suspected the head of a defense enterprise in the Bryansk Region in western Russia of deliberately bankrupting the plant, causing damage to the state estimated at 1.3 billion rubles ($39 million).
“On June 24, 2013 a criminal case was opened into the general director of 85th repair works due to the deliberate bankruptcy of the enterprise. As a result of his illegitimate actions, the factory was recognized as bankrupt in April, causing the loss of property worth over 1.3 billion rubles,” the statement said.
The Prosecutor General’s statement follows a series of suspected multi-million dollar frauds uncovered in the domestic defense sector, some of which have led to investigators to question Serdyukov, who was fired last November after a scandal at Oboronservis, a Defense Ministry property management company.