Updated at 19:33,24-11-2017

High-profile case: Belarusian officials lobbying Russian firms interests on trial

Hanna Liubakova, Belsat.eu/en

The case of the so-called meat schemers has lasted for two days. It is a large-scale case both in terms of the number of volumes and the losses and positions of the accused. The case is heard in Mahiliou, but the accused are top officials from Homiel. The city on Sozh once again ended up in the center of a corruption scandal.

There are 96 volumes of the criminal case documents, six defendants, one hundred and fifty witnesses a criminal case is striking in its scale. According to investigators, implicated in corruption are already two former deputies of the Homiel Oblast Executive Committee Viktar Tryzna and Viktar Banchuk. The latter, incidentally, has not been taken into custody, but would not give comment to Belsat.

The officials were to lobby the interests of the Russian company that bought meat products from Belarus without prepayment, and as a result they did not pay in full for delivery. The result was a multi billion-dollar debt to the Homiel enterprises.

YURY VARONEZHTSAU, POLITICIAN, SCIENTIST:

Our Homiel officials probably were very unlucky. Looks like they brought the money in the wrong place and to the wrong people the money that should have been embezzled and divided.


Indeed, the Homiel officials ended up in the dock not for the first time. For example, last year five years in prison received the former chairman of the Homiel City Executive Committee Viktar Pilipets. He was under investigation with the former deputy of Viktar Banchuk, Syarhei Yakauleu, who replaced him as chairman of the Executive Committee in Rahachou.

This January Alyaksandr Lukashenka praised himself to reporters with a serious fight against corruption, but was fast to add:

It is impossible to overcome completely. Do not believe the opposition when they say that the president is managing all this. said the head of state.


In April, the head of state spoke about the disclosure of corruption schemes in the Ashmiany Customs and in July already he came up with a new law against corruption. It would seem that the main fighter against corruption in the country was back with the old proven scheme, used to come to power. But before the election the anti-corruption rhetoric disappeared.

ALEH VOLCHAK, FORMER INVESTIGATOR:

Lukashenka sees no sense in a vocal fight against corruption, because it will show that the system is not working and that all officials are corrupt. And note even this trial is closed.

But people in Homel know about such show trials, and the second largest city of Belarus is generally referred to as the capital of corruption. We asked Homiel citizens where to look for the corrupted people.

STREET POLL:

It is our leadership. Who else is to blame?


They are to blame for stealing. They have not got enough, I guess.


Everything depends on the authorities, I think.


Probably the authorities on the top are rotting. They see a grain of sand in somebodys eyes, and do not notice a log in theirs.


Among the accused in this high-profile case, which has already been called a case of meat schemers are also the son of Viktar Tryzna, former director of the Homiel meat-packing company Aleh Charkas and two citizens of Russia. According to investigators, they had deceived six Belarusian enterprises for 34 billion rubles.