Ukrainian website: Former PO-PSL minister demanded bribes from road giants

Road-constructing giants present on Ukrainian market appear in the documents of the investigation regarding Sławomir Nowak, a former transport minister in the government of Civic Platform and Polish People’s Party (PO-PSL) and a former head of Ukrainian Ukravtodor road agency, the Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov of the website reported.

Former minister in PO-PSL gov’t charged with leading organised crime group

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Mr Nowak (his attorney agreed to reveal his full data) was detained on Monday by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) along with the former commander of elite special unit GROM Dariusz Z. and an entrepreneur Jacek P. It was the result of an international investigation conducted by a joint team of prosecutors from Poland and Ukraine, as well as officers of the CBA and the Ukrainian anti-corruption service NABU.

The former minister is suspected of claiming and accepting material and personal benefits in return for granting private entities contracts for the construction and repair of roads in Ukraine, as well as with laundering money.

According to Mr Butusov, who claims he had gained access to the documents of the investigation, Mr Nowak demanded a bribe from Alexander Tisienko, the owner of one of the largest Ukrainian construction companies “Altcom” and company’s director Sergei Pavlichev, for “postponing the contract for the construction of sections of the highway M-05 Kyiv-Odessa, which was carried out at the expense European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.”

The second case of corruption, according to documents obtained by Butusov, concerned extorting a bribe by Mr Nowak from a representative of the Turkish company “Onur” Karaahmetoglu Emre for assistance in winning the tenders of Ukravtodor. The Pole told his Turkish partner how he could win a tender for the Pan-European Roads project on the M-03 Kyiv-Kharkiv-Dolzhansky highway worth about USD 175.6 million, for which a contract was signed on May 21, 2018.

The third plot concerned demanding a bribe from a representative of a Polish consulting company ECM Group Polska, “for assistance in winning the purchase of ‘consulting services for the development of design estimates and tender documents for the construction and reconstruction of roads M-01 Kyiv-Chernihiv-Novye Yarilovichi and M-06 Kyiv-Chop, with the further performance of copyright and technical supervision.’” The contract was worth EUR 1,784,204. However, this plan did not work, Mr Nowak in August 2019 said that he will not support the consulting company until they are even.

According to NABU, the group has created a criminal organisation which wanted to embezzle funds for road constructions and renovations from international organisations in the years 2016-2019. The value of tenders mentioned in the investigation is EUR 270 mln.

The prosecutor’s office submitted the application to the court to arrest three detainees.