Saturday, April 26, 2008

PM and Pres clash over SPF

On Friday morning PM Tymoshenko unexpectedly entered the State Property Fund [SPF] building, together with BYuT deputy Andriy Portnov. With the aid of a 'bull-horn' she gathered all of the staff together in the conference hall and introduced them to their new boss, Portnov. Journalists who wanted to interview Portnov were physically prevented from doing so, on the orders of the 'former' SPF head Valentyna Semeniuk-Samsonenko.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko's official website reports that she has instructed acting chairman of the SPF, Portnov to ignore President's decrees of 25 April 2008 on the management of the SPF and on terminating the privatization competition for the huge "Odessa Portside [chemical] Plant", which could bring in over $1Bn to state coffers.

Tymoshenko stated,"In actual fact rulings on these edicts have been made by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and Kyiv Administrative court of law.. therefore the numbers of edicts on these matters and dates of their release have no value."

The President had stopped, by ukaz, a resolution of the government to change the management of the SPF, and blocked a Kabmin decision on the conditions for conducting a privatization competition for the Odessa Portside Plant. On 17 April, 2008, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine delivered a ruling that his actions were unconstitutional. According to Ukrainian law, resolutions of Constitutional Court are final, and cannot be challenged.

On 24th April the Kyiv Administrative Court, guided by the Constitutional Court decision, also anulled an additional Presidential ukaz on the restoration of Valentina Semenyuk-Samsonenko to her post as head of the SPF, and ruled illegal all decisions by the Fund blocking the privatization of the Odessa Portside Plant.

Tymoshenko emphasized: "The duties of the SPF are entrusted to Andriy Portnov, and he must do everything to finally end the wide-scale corruption in the Fund and organize honest privatizations with transparent procedures. Privatization must be carried out in the interests of the working collectives and the country."

Naturally, all this has caused a 'hell of a stink'.

The Prosecutor-General's office have now got involved and have condemned the KabMin's decision to 'boot out' Semenyuk. They have also challenged the conditions for privatizing the Odessa Portside Plant.

KabMin have riposted and dismissed the P-G's statements, and they are collecting signatures to initiate the dismissal of the P-G Oleksandr Medvedko. He is to be invited to the KabMin meeting after the long Easter break to explain himself. Portnov, wants to ask the P-G, "Why has he actually become head of the land and privatizational mafia."
He also wants to know from Medvedko and Semenyuk: "Why were the premises of the State Tax Administration sold, and why was no-one locked up in prison for this? And why were the premises of the State Company 'Nadra Ukrainy sold?"

Semenyuk has now stuffed the SPF official stamps 'into her knickers', and called this morning's events a "raiders' seizure." Her Socialist party boss Oleksandr Moroz is missing all of the action because he is in Moscow attending a minor Russian party conference.

I have posted several times previously here and here on the running battle for control of the State Property Fund.

Tymoshenko and her government desperately need funds from quick privatizations to help stem soaring inflation, as described in today's 'FT'.

p.s. LEvko wishes everyone a Happy Orthodox Easter...

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