NABU blocks scheme for distribution of tonnage dues in Pivdennyi seaport
The order of the Ministry of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure, which entered into force today, April 26, canceled the regulations allowing private companies to receive half of the tonnage tax in the Pivdennyi seaport, reported the press service of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
As a result of the operation of the scheme, the state company Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) suffered losses of more than $43 million in the period from 2015 to 2021, according to NABU.
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The decree cancels the norms of the orders of the Ministry of Infrastructure from 2013 and 2015, according to which USPA received only half of the tonnage dues in the Pivdennyi port, although it should receive all 100% of the fees as the sole user of the port water area and the water fund lands under it.
In February 2023, NABU and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office served the former Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine and his former first deputy a notice of suspicion of creating and lobbying for the scheme for the distribution of port fees in Pivdennyi.
The investigation established that the relevant order was passed without proper economic reasoning and contrary to the comments of the Department of Economy and Finance of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the USPA. At the same time, one of the beneficial owners of private companies turned out to be a suspect in corruption in the State Food and Grain Corporation, who is wanted and under sanctions of the National Security and Defense Council.
NABU detectives began investigating abuses in the Ministry of Infrastructure in the fall of 2019, for which they requested materials from the SBU and the National Police, who tried to close the relevant proceedings.
Since that time, NABU has repeatedly appealed to the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the National Police to stop the operation of the illegal scheme.
However, for a long time, the departments did not listen to the arguments of NABU, did not cancel the illegal order and did not file a lawsuit for the return of the sums of tonnage dues that were unjustifiably received by private companies.