On June 19, 2020, the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) under the procedural guidance of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor`s Office (SAPO) gave notice of suspicion to the former Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine. He is suspected of committing illegal acts that caused losses in the amount of UAH 30.5 million to the state budget. His actions are qualified under Part 2 of Article 211 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The investigation revealed that in 2017 the former Minister of Infrastructure issued an order to reduce all port fees (except Lighthouse Signalization fee) by 20%. At the same time, one of these fees - administrative is the revenue part of the state budget. Only the Parliament has the authority to change the fee size, but not the Minister.
In addition, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine (MFU) opposed the reduction of all port fees. The MFU pointed out that the reduction of the administrative fee would lead to a shortfall in state budget revenues. The MFU informed the Minister of Infrastructure about this repeatedly. As a result, due to the Minister’s decision the state budget lost UAH 30.4 million in 2018. The budget received UAH 173.1 million instead of the expected UAH 203.5 million. The State Audit Service of Ukraine and court examination confirmed these data. Then, the Ministry of Infrastructure admitted that the decision to reduce the fees did not reach the goal.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine a person is considered not-guilty in commission of crime and cannot be a subject to criminal punishment, until he or she is found guilty by the court.
According to Article 22 of the "On Sea Ports of Ukraine", the following fees are charged at the seaport: ship, berth, anchor, canal, lighthouse, administrative and sanitary. According to Article 39 of the Budget Code of Ukraine, Port (administrative) fee is a revenue part of the state budget. The size of port fees for each seaport are set by the National Commission for state regulation of transport, in accordance with the approved methodology.
The central executive agency, which shapes and implements the state policy of sea and river transport, determines the procedure for accounting and use of funds, except for the administrative fee. However, this National Commission had not yet established. In addition, the methodology for setting port fees for each seaport had not approved. The Ministry of Infrastructure temporarily implements these functions for 7 years. The Ministry sets the size of the fees without economic justification.