Pentagon Investigates, Gives All Clear over Ukraine Fraud Allegations
There is no evidence any of the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent on weapons and aid sent to Ukraine has been lost to corruption or diverted into criminal hands, the Pentagon’s inspector general said Tuesday, before adding investigations are still at an early stage.
The assurance came after members of Congress persistently questioned how closely the U.S. is tracking its aid to ensure it is not subject to fraud.
AP reports Robert P. Storch was pressed by House members several times about any fraud findings. He said a number of tips and allegations have come in to a new hotline, but there have been “limited findings” to date, with many reports pending.
Storch, who was testifying with other Pentagon leaders before the House Armed Services Committee, repeatedly qualified his remarks by saying he did not want to talk about investigations that have not yet been completed.
His comments came on the back of months of claim and counterclaim regarding the potential for corruption to the very highest levels of the Ukraine government, as Breitbart News reported.
In January a string of senior Ukraine government officials were sacked or resigned amidst a flurry of corruption claims, with those shown the door accused of taking illicit payments as the Ministry of Defence allegedly signed overinflated military contracts.
Deputy Defence Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko were among the senior Ukraine government officials who departed.
The AP report said Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the Republican committee chairman, observed Congress has appropriated more than $100 billion in military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies.
Of that, the U.S. has doled out more than $75 billion so far including nearly $32 billion in Pentagon weapons and training to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of its neighbor a year ago.
“These are unprecedented numbers. And it requires an unprecedented level of oversight by Congress,” Rogers said.
The Pentagon has a “robust program” to track the aid as it crosses the border into Ukraine and to keep tabs on it once it is there, depending on the sensitivity of each weapons system, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Tuesday at a press briefing.
There’s also a small team of Americans in Ukraine working with Ukrainians to do physical inspections when possible, but also virtual inspections when needed, since those teams are not going to the front lines, Ryder said.
A recent report from Transparency International found Ukraine ranked as the second most corrupt country in Europe, losing only to Russia, which ranked first. Ukraine also ranked as the 116th most corrupt country in the world, although it rose one rank since 2021.