News From World : Mykola Solskyi, the minister of agriculture and food, is suspected by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) of stealing public land valued at 291 million hryvnias illegally and trying to steal land for a further 190 million hryvnias.

He asserts that he has no contact with the disputed land and refutes all of the claims made against him.
Prior to being nominated as a minister, Mykola Solskyi headed the parliamentary committee on agrarian policy and land relations. He had extensive experience in agriculture before being elected to the Verkhovna Rada.
Specifically, Andriy Bohdan, the former head of Zelenskyi’s Office of the President, Ihor Pukshin, his former law partner, and Oleksandr Baulin, the son of the former chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, were his business associates.

The parliament’s agrarian committee was led by Solsky when the deputies took the momentous decision to establish a land market.
It is noteworthy that reports in recent weeks have suggested that Solsky’s position is precarious, that he might be fired, and that the ministry might be merged with the Ministry of Economy.
He made some somewhat reserved remarks on such possibilities a week ago.

Solskyi has been negotiating with the Poles on agricultural items and border blockades in recent months.

The core of NABU’s concerns

According to NABU, the case concerns the actions of a high-ranking official who led a “criminal group” that included State Geocadastre body officials “as well as persons who controlled the activities of these bodies, the so-called curators”.
The scheme’s participants made sure that the records that gave two state-owned businesses in Sumy Oblast the right to perpetual land usage were destroyed. The regional State Geocadastre created an act on the arbitrary occupation of these plots because they were not present, the NABU stated in a statement.

In the future, plots were transferred to preset citizens on the pretense of fulfilling their right to free land, the agency says, with the assistance of controlled officials of the area State Geocadastre.
According to NABU, even prior to the acquisition, the land’s lease to a private agricultural holding had to be signed in order for ownership to be achieved.
“As a result of the implementation of the scheme during the years 2017-2021, the participants of the scheme took possession of 1,250 land plots with a total area of 2,493 hectares, the value of which at the time of the crime was more than 291 million hryvnias,” the reason for suspicion stated.

According to NABU, they also attempted to seize 3,282 hectares of land valued at almost 190 million hryvnias, but the SAP’s investigators and prosecutors stopped them after conducting searches and seizing the plots.
Not only has Minister Solsky been named as the target of suspicions, but also “two curators of the State Geocadastre bodies and the person who contributed to the commission of the crime.” Suspicion is still spreading to other people.

What is said by the minister?

In an interview with BBC Ukraine, a government team interlocutor made the assumption that Solsky could prepare a resignation letter on his own in light of the corruption issue. If nothing else, the Cabinet of Ministers had no intention of presenting the resolution to the legislature.
The minister acknowledged that he disagrees with the NABU’s allegations, nevertheless. He claims that the incidents detailed by NABU happened between 2017 and 2018, during his legal career, and they had nothing to do with how the land was used.

The events of seven years ago concerned a legal issue over land that had been legally granted to ATO military troops, as well as a disagreement between state-owned firms and private citizens. Courts, including the Supreme Court, settle disputes. As far as I’m aware, several rulings have stated that state-owned firms do not have any rights on the land, which is likely what NABU implies “Mykola Solskyi told the media in a statement.
“Maximum openness to establish the truth” was the minister’s pledge.
“But there is no need for this either – all data are open to law enforcement officers, and the evidence and arguments of the parties are under consideration by the courts,” he stated.


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