The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced that 5 people, including a former Defense Ministry official, committed $40 million of corruption in the purchase of weapons.

While an investigation was opened against the 5 people in question, one of them was detained as he was preparing to leave the country. 

In the statement made by the SBU, it was announced that the mortar shells and mines that were paid for and promised as a result of the agreements made were not supplied.

According to AP, those involved in the corruption include a former Defense Ministry official who was detained while trying to flee Ukraine, the current head of the Defense Ministry's Military and Technical Policy, Armaments and Military Equipment Development Department, two executives of the defense industry company Lviv Arsenal, and a representative of an international company.

The statement said the suspects signed a contract for 100,000 mortar shells in October 2022, payments were received in advance, some funds were transferred abroad, but the weapons were not supplied.

"According to the results of the agreements, they committed to start supplying mines in December 2022, but as of today, the Ministry of Defense has not received any supplies for the contract, 97 percent of which were prepaid," the statement said.

21 million dollars seized

The SBU announced that UAH 818 million ($21 million) was seized in the operation. "The perpetrators transferred part of the funds to the account of a foreign company and the other part to an account not intended for such needs. During the investigation, the police managed to seize UAH 818 million of the stolen money. The suspects face up to 12 years in prison with confiscation of their assets," the statement said.

Defense Minister was dismissed

In September last year, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky dismissed Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, citing "the need for new approaches" following a series of corruption scandals involving the Defense Ministry.