On April 3, NABU detectives conducted searches in the Agency for Asset Search and Management (ARMA). Employees of the agency are suspected of abusing official duties, which caused damage to private firms to the extent of 9.5 million hryvnias. According to NABU, a number of other state agencies are also involved in this.
These searches are part of the struggle that Samopomich deputies Oleksandr Danchenko, Ivan Miroshnichenko, Ruslan Sydorovych, and NGO Business-Varta have waged against the army.
Oleksandr Danchenko says that ARMA is one of the instruments of illegal takeovers. Pretending to be searching for stolen assets, it is actually a tool for exercising pressure on business.
“We have repeatedly travelled the scenes of accidents, defended businesses in courts, held conferences where we gave specific examples, made inquiries. For the last 6 months, we have been actively working. We even had a meeting with the leadership of ARMA.”
There are various examples of ARMA’s “activity” – the Bratsk oil processing plant, which was simply destroyed; takeover and actual destruction of “Biotechcom”; takeover of the building “Renaissance Holding” and so on. Even the Prosecutor General’s Office recognized that in the past 2018 there were 30 times more cases of illegal takeovers than ever.
These were precisely Samopomich deputies who insisted that takeovers and pressure on business exercised through ARMA had to stop. ARMA abused its powers, there was no transparency in the choice of those companies that started to manage assets – the ARMA management just chose their companies and let them make money. At the same time, the agency’s employees covered themselves with article 222 of the Criminal Procedural Code, according to which, the information of a pre-trial investigation can be disclosed only with the permission of the investigator or prosecutor and to the extent that they recognize as possible. By the way, these were Samopomich representatives who proved that ARMA had no right to classify materials under this article.
Danchenko notes: “As a result of our actions, ARMA and its leadership recognized that they acted not in the legal field, but in a legal vacuum.”
But the problem of illegal takeovers is much bigger and it is not about ARMA only. According to Oleksandr Danchenko, it is necessary to conduct searches not only in ARMA, but also in those law enforcement agencies that conducted their transactions through ARMA, and plundered a lot even before the assets reached ARMA.
“Today’s searches are what ARMA deserves. But ARMA is not the only one to blame. I think there are intentions to make it a scapegoat. It is true that ARMA is guilty, but the same searches should be carried out in relation to those prosecutors and those police units that illegally transferred all cases to ARMA.”
Yet, searches in ARMA are a victory, and Business-Varta, along with Oleksandr Danchenko, Ruslan Sydorovych and Ivan Miroshnichenko played a major role in protecting business from illegal takeovers.