MPs lavish public funding on themselves and Donetsk
In an Ukrainska Pravda article, Serhiy Andrushko writes about a secretive meeting of the parliamentary budget committee and the ways this is allocating public funding. At a covertly held meeting of the committee in July, money was allocated for MPs; the Office of the Verkhovna Rada; additional security for the Cabinet of Ministers; and “for Donetsk”. The committee also proposed one of their members for an award.
Attempts were made to block Andrushko, a journalist and member of the civic movement CHESNO which monitors politicians’ adherence to fundamental principles, including openness. He was told that this was because it was hot and sticky.
July’s heat is long past, he comments, and he has only now received the documents from that meeting. The budget committee’s official site conceals the amounts and the measures for which they allocated funding. There is also no information about the miscellaneous section, although the minutes say that there were decisions taken under this section.
Knowing his rights under the Public Information Act, Andrushko demanded to see the minutes and transcript of the meeting. He was given one hour and had three officials sitting in the room with him. Two simply watched, one assiduously noted at which points he stopped.
Parliament saved almost 5 million UAH through the fact that the parliamentary tribune was so often blocked during the first 6 months of 2013. During those periods, for example, the TV channel Rada had nothing to broadcast and saved 900 thousand UAH. The money thus saved nonetheless went on the Verkhovna Rada, on “material – technical provisions”.
Andrushko points out that the channel Rada does not broadcast live, either from parliament or from the committee chambers, and there is no Internet version even though this is widespread practice in the UK and European Parliaments.
16 million UAH were allocated for improving the Cabinet of Ministers building security.
“Why should Donetsk live at Ukraine’s expense?”
There were several votes on allocating money to Donetsk, which Andrushko points out is where Ukraine’s ruling elite are from. 14 million was allocated for reconstruction of two sport complexes: Kirovets and Olimpiysky. The first of these, Andrushko notes, had its ceremonial opening several months before the money was allocated for its reconstruction.
On the same day the MPs supported allocating 75 million UAH to the Donetsk State Administration for the holding of an international light athletics championship for young people.