Ukraine MPs accuse Kobolev of billions’ losses and are initiating his dismissal

Andriy Kobolev

MPs of the parliamentary coalition, members of the interfactional group Deputatskiy Kontrol (Parliamentarian Control) are initiating dismissal of the NJSC Naftogas Ukrainy CEO Andriy Kobolev, writes

He is being accused of failing to do his work, increasing gas tariffs and 3-billion losses for the state and its citizens caused by the natural gas purchase transactions. Kobolev’s dismissal initiative has already been signed by 20 MPs from different factions as well as independent MPs, seven MPs of Deputatskiy Kontrol stated today at a press conference.

“actions of Andriy Kobolev as the CEO of Naftogas Ukrainy bear a threat to the domestic economy”
The parliamentarians are convinced that “actions of Andriy Kobolev as the CEO of Naftogas Ukrainy bear a threat to the domestic economy and facilitate impoverishment of Ukrainians”. They believe that “it was the “effective” management of Kobolev, specifically transactions of gas purchase for Ukraine last year, that caused increase of gas prices for all categories of consumers and inflicted a loss amounting to several billions.”

“Tariffs directly depend on the gas price. Meanwhile, Kobolev knowingly did not purchase gas in Europe in Q2 last year, when the prices were at their lowest there – from US $180 per cu m. Later, however, Naftogas Ukrainy knowingly purchased natural gas at US $30-40 more – in the period of highest prices. This led to ungrounded overpayment of three billion hryvnia from the pockets of Ukrainian citizens. Was it unprofessionalism or some material interest of the head of Naftogas – in any case such person cannot be managing a strategic national company,” stressed representative of Deputatskiy Kontrol Maksym Polyakov.

“there is a financial interest of pseudo-reformers from Naftogas Ukrainy in the negotiations with Russians instead of Europeans”
MPs also informed about secret negotiations between Kobolev and Gazprom management about purchases of Russian gas, and at a higher price, than earlier in Europe. They claim Gazprom representatives came to Kyiv several times to negotiate with Kobolev. The MPs believe it is “unacceptable to negotiate in any way with the aggressor at a time of war” and assume “there is a financial interest of pseudo-reformers from Naftogas Ukrainy in the negotiations with Russians instead of Europeans”. MP Vitaliy Kupriy drew an analogy to coal trading with Certain Territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts that caused Ukrainians UAH 10 bn in losses.

The MPs appealed to the premier and the government of Ukraine to conduct an emergency audit of financial and economic operations of Naftogas Ukrainy and its affiliate companies and immediate removal of Kobolev. MPs also said at the press conference that law enforcement bodies were blocking the investigation of three criminal cases against Kobolev.

MP Mykhailo Holovko also spoke about power abuse in the management of another state-owned company, controlled by Naftogas Ukrainy and its CEO, specifically UkrGasVydobuvannya. “The government’s auditing agency informed that they tried to audit financial operations of UkrGasVydobuvannya four times, but the company did not allow it. We demand the government to take UkrGasVydobuvannya under its control, remove its management led by Prokhorenko and liquidate the structure, because they inflict a huge loss on the Ukrainian economy,” he believes.

MPs were quite indignant that “on the background of failures, the management of state-owned Naftogas Ukrainy set exorbitant salaries with an exclusive social package that includes all kinds of benefits for themselves”. Mass media reported that the monthly salary of Naftogas Ukrainy CEO reaches up to UAH 3 mn. Kobolev also intended to purchase a work car for UAH 5 mn, but was forced to abandon the idea after the scandal.

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