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28 November, 2011  ▪  Roman Shostak

The Mysteries of Lviv

There is an aura of mystery concerning the way billions allocated for Lviv’s preparations for the championship have been appropriated

The construction of Euro 2012 facilities in the Lviv Oblast will cost UAH 13.1bn. The government promised UAH 8.6bn while local authorities and private investors are expected to pay the rest. 20 days before the official opening of the new stadium in Lviv, scheduled for 29 October, Oblast Council Deputies tried to find out how their subcontractors were spending budget funds. They applied to the administration of the Directorate for the Construction of Euro 2012 Facilities in Lviv, otherwise known as ZakhidInfraProekt[1] a government-appointed enterprise that had ordered the facilities on behalf of the government, to provide this information at the Oblast Council session. After a week of reflection, they received a written response, which could be referred to the classics of worldwide bureaucratic creativity.

SILENCE, PLEASE!

According to the Instruction of the Ukrainian Euro 2012 Infrastructure Project (UkrEuroInfraProekt), the new name of the National Agency for the Preparation of the Euro 2012 Championship in Ukraine, issued this year, three months after the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”, dated January 2011 came into effect, “the course of court proceedings related to the rental and privatization of state-owned property where UkrEuroInfraProekt is either plaintiff or respondent” is classified information “until the court announces its verdict”.

The preparations in Lviv became this secretive when the Cabinet of Ministers and UkrEuroInfraProekt chose the Donetsk-based Altcom financial and industrial group as the executive contractor. To accelerate the work, it was allowed to hire subcontractors and buy materials and equipment without conducting tenders. This launched a top-to bottom monopoly hierarchy.  As a result, the Lviv Oblast ended up with slightly more than 500 vacancies on Euro 2012 construction sites, as opposed to the tens of thousands promised by the authorities.

Rumor has it that officials are now banned from disclosing the mere fact of the initiation of criminal cases related to Euro 2012 preparations, let alone subsequent court proceedings. Of late, all law enforcement officials have suddenly stopped talking about financial fraud during the preparations in public, which has surprised many experts, striving to ensure public oversight over the process. A year ago, the Central Inspection Authority (KRU) revealed the misappropriation of UAH 1bn, virtually all of it related to public procurements, resulting in the initiation of seven criminal cases, but no one knows their fate, or what the verdict was in the case initiatate by the Oblast Prosecutor’s Office on the recognition of the invalidity of an Agreement, as a result of which a foreign company was paid UAH 15.1mn from the state budget, although the actual value of the work executed, totaled all of UAH 180,000.

VANISHED CASES

Silence speaks louder than facts. The Lviv Oblast has a list of more than 90 facilities designated for funding, construction or renovation for Euro 2012. What is their future? The only person who could answer this question is no longer alive. 57-year old Stepan Lukashyk was Head of the Main Department for Euro 2012 and City Construction at the Lviv Oblast State Administration. He died of a heart attack on 3 May 2011, after nine months in office.

Ihor Markov, Director of the Social Survey Laboratory at the Private Initiative Support Center, has been holding surveys and polls on Euro 2012 for several years. He says Lviv will have the most criminal cases launched on the basis of the preparations for the championship. Of course, this will not happen before July 2012 when the European football champion will already be determined.

The estimated cost of the Lviv stadium was initially UAH 750mn. It has now increased to UAH 2.2bn




[1] Western Infrastructure Project


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