Ukraine’s Agrarian Policy Minister Arrested on Land Fraud Charges

Home / World / Ukraine’s Agrarian Policy Minister Arrested on Land Fraud Charges
Mykola Solskyi is accused of illegally acquiring $7.35 million worth of state land and attempting to acquire $4.8 million worth of land. Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Mykola Solskyi, accused of illegally acquiring state-owned land, has been released on bail in the amount of 75.7m hryvnias (1.9m dollars) ordered by the High Anti-Corruption Court and continues to fulfil his official duties. This was reported on Friday, 26 April, by the press service of the Ministry. If convicted, Mykola Solskyi faces up to 12 years in prison, Reuters reported. The Minister denies his guilt. It is stated that this is a possible offence committed between 2017 and 2021, that is, even before the appointment of Mykola Solskyi as Minister of Agrarian policy in March 2022. According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Solskyi illegally acquired state land worth 291 million hryvnias ($7.35 million) and tried to purchase land worth 190 million hryvnias ($4.8 million). As part of the offence scheme, the land was illegally seized from two state-owned companies and given to war veterans on the condition that they would lease it to some private firms, prosecutors said. Mykola Solskyi and his lawyer stated at the hearing on 25 April that he did not benefit from such a scheme. The day before, the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk, said on Facebook that Solskyi had resigned. The application, a photocopy of which Stefanchuk published on his page on the social network, will be considered at one of the next plenary sessions, the post said. Until the Ukrainian parliament approves his resignation, Solskyi will formally remain as minister. According to Reuters, Mykola Solskyi became the first minister in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s cabinet to become a suspect in a corruption case. In the summer of 2023, a corruption scandal erupted around then Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. In particular, the Ukrainian mass media wrote that the country’s Defense Ministry signed a contract with a Turkish company at the end of 2022 to supply winter clothing for servicemen, but on the way to Ukraine the cost of the batch tripled. Reznikov himself said at the time that spreading such information “misleads the public”. Earlier, in January 2023, a number of high-ranking military officials in Ukraine were removed from their posts after a journalistic investigation into the purchase of food for the military at prices 2-3 times higher than in supermarkets. Reznikov then recognized a “failure” in the work of anticorruption bodies.