The deputy of Uzhgorod City Council Maria Zilhalova is suspected of bribery. Late last week, the police arrested her red-handed – while receiving the money. The city deputy was put in prison.
Want a land in Uzhgorod? Give bribe to a deputy!
During the service of the previous mayor of Uzhgorod Serhiy Ratushniak, journalists and civic activists repeatedly accused the city council of the total corruption in land issue. In 2010, the new mayor came, but the bribery scheme seems to have remained.
As the police found out, last year in December, Maria Zilhalova explained to one of the entrepreneurs: in order to receive the land in the center of Uzhgorod, he had to "donate" five thousand dollars. The woman knew the deal as she was a member of the relevant committee of Uzhgorod City Council.
According to the press service of the Prosecutor of the Transcarpathian region, December 26, the deputy received from the businessman one thousand dollars. She ensured the endorsement of the committee on the rational use of land resources and voting at the session on the decision to grant the land plot to the entrepreneur. January 24, Zilhalova again met with the man to receive the rest of the sum. Then, she was detained in the center of Uzhgorod by the police in the car with four thousand. Now the woman faces 5 to 10 years imprisonment with confiscation of property.
By the way, this deputy was already notorious for the conflict with residents of the house number 19 on Drugety street: people argued that, using her parliamentary office, she was trying to rob them of the nearby territory.
We will be following the progress of the high profile case. Now, even without investigation it is obvious that the deputy could have shared the corrupt money with "friends". Will the suspect rat her "colleagues" from the City Council out?
In fact, Maria Zilhalova is not the first deputy who has had trouble with the law since 2010 (the last local elections – Author.). And, obviously, not the last one.
Although, in practice, not all deputies, who had been detained, were punished for their crimes. What’s more – some of them after the arrest received high positions.
What crimes have Transcarpathian deputies committed? From beating people to corruption.
In October 2011, the Khust City Council member Robert Borka, who was the president of the local football club "Narcissus", after the match, beat two referees, and hit the deputy chief of the local police in the face (!). According to the former Chief of the Police of the region Victor Rusin, the man is already serving a sentence in prison for his actions.
Last year in February, the region learned of another "fighter" – the member of Mizhhirya district council Mykhailo Shchur. In the village of Podobovets he had a conflict with a tourist from Kyiv. The guest from the capital, according to the official police report, was taken to hospital with a closed head injury, brain concussion, broken nose and tibio-tarsic joint. The latest news from law enforcement on this matter – the parties to the conflict allegedly settled the dispute.
December 15, 2011 by the decision of prosecutors, Uzhgorod City Council deputy Oleksandr Doktor was detained in Uzhgorod. He was suspected of intentional non-fulfillment of the decision of the Commercial Court. The case, in particular, concerned the unpaid 400,000 UAH to creditors (apparently while Doktor was working as the director of the "Zakarpattya" hotel – Author.). The deputy for a time was under arrest, and then he was released on recognizance not to leave. Now the Uzhgorod Mayor Victor Pogorelov appointed Oleksandr Doktor as the head of the Capital Building Department of the city council. At the same time, he heads the land commission – the same one where, on suspicion of the police, Maria Zilhalova was engaged in bribery.
There was also a shady dealing with the city boiler rooms. Currently, it is difficult to assess whether law enforcement officers have worked well – the Transcarpathian regional public prosecutor never reported the results. At the press-service of the agency they said that they cannot quickly respond to these questions, because different investigators are assigned to each of the cases.
So we can conclude: these cases currently are either still being investigated or already has fallen to pieces. The latter is no compliment to law enforcement officers.
Last fall, the regional media spread the information about the arrest of a deputy of Uzhgorod City Council – Taras Rumyantsev. Allegedly, the Security Service of Ukraine was investigating into his activities. However, there was no official information from law enforcement authorities, and according to the electronic media – the deputy was involved in the case as a witness, not as a suspect.
This week, the information about possible illegal actions of another deputy of Uzhgorod City Council – Ivan Voloshin – has surfaced. In particular, "Zakarpattya online", referring to its sources in the office of the Security Service of Ukraine, reported that the police found out that the deputy was a stakeholder in the scandalous story of Uzhgorod complex "The Crown". Ivan Voloshin was in the commission dealing with the sales of the facility. And under the law, the participation of stakeholders in the process of privatization is prohibited. Uzhgorod City and District Court will consider the matter as early as Friday, February 1.
Notably, all of the mentioned deputies are representatives of various political forces – both opposition and pro-government. More precisely – they were elected to councils with the support of leading parties. So local leaders of these organizations, as well as voters next time should be more careful in their choices, so that they will not feel embarrassed later.