According to a statement by the head of the Prosecutor-General's press service today, former minister of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lutsenko, is being detained because: "until today he has avoided fulfilling our demands of the necessity to familiarise himself with the evidence [of the case against him]. He was warned him that if he continues to draw out this familiarisation, his conditions of bail would be changed. Therefore he was detained yesterday."
To me it all rather sounds like something from an Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn novel.
Who is to decide whether he is familiar with the details of the case against him or not - and to what degree of familiarity? How, apart from Lutsenko himself, can anyone be sure?
Lutsenko said in court today that he has been reading 150 pages a day [of a reported 25 volumes of evidence], but has had to write many summaries and notes by hand for his own use because permission to make photocopies of this evidence was denied.
But he did not complain that he is being denied time to prepare his defence though, so where's the problem? Why is he in jail?
He may as well be charged "for being a nuisance..a general nuisance in the house.."
Lutsenko has now been formally arrested and is to be detained for 2 months. His lawyers will be lodging an appeal for his release.
All this over an alleged unlawful $5,000 payment made tp the former minister's driver. The time and labour of dozens of security men, prosecutors, investigators, judges, and drivers, etc. etc. involved in this case must have cost many times more than this sum already. But that's not the point is it?
p.s. A story that has 'slipped under the radar.. just as a comparison:
Last September it was reported in "Kommersant" that according to the the Ukrainian State Committee for Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship, the Kremenchuk company "Livela" had long ago obtained the right to import petroleum products into Ukraine without payment of VAT, excise and import duty. In August alone, it was estimated by experts that the company imported 18.3 thousand tons of light oil valued about $ 14.6 million. During that month about 300 thousand tons of petroleum products in total were imported into Ukraine. The loss to the country due to "Lavela's" concession, in that one month, was more than $ 4 million. This has been going on for years....and guess what..one of the owners of "Livela" is a PoR deputy, Volodymyr Zubyk.
A few days ago the authoritative "Dzerkalo Tyzhnya" ran a piece entitled: "Livela" continues to import petroleum products, despite 3 Bn hryven loss to the state"...this was confirmed by head of the Poltava department of the State Anti-monopoly Committee....
The press office of first vice-premier Andrei Klyuev refused to comment on the "Livela" affair, but a source in the Ministry of Fuel and Energy told "Kommersant" that those "at the highest level" are engaged in its activities.
But hey, its all legal, so who cares....How many more "Livela's" are there? e.g. official Mercedes Benz distributors in Ukraine, who are the only one's capable of servicing their most expensive models, estimate that up to half of these models are imported illegally.
Why should the IMF provide any financial assistance to a country with such a poor record of tax and import duty collection?
God help Ukraine...