Former deputy head of Lviv Customs Office of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Volodymir Shokalo was sentenced with a fine in the amount of 8,500 UAH for offering 10,000 USD as a bribe to close criminal proceedings against him. So is the decision of Sykhiv District Court of the city of Lviv of 28 August.
On 17 March Shokalo, who at that moment after rotation was temporarily performing functions of a deputy head of Ivano-Frankivsk Customs Office, was arrested at the parking lot in Lviv when giving a bribe to a military prosecutor of Lviv Division Mr. Vladyslav Savinets and deputy head of the unit of the Department for Protection of Economy in Lviv region Svyatoslav Bobrov.
Shokalo wanted the latter to help close another criminal proceeding against him and two other officers of Lviv Customs Office – head of this Customs Office Levko Prokipchuk and deputy head Andriy Todoschuk, with whom he temporarily served as part of management team of Ivano-Frankivsk Customs Office.
Facebook post below:
St. Patrick against a Ukrainian corrupt customs officer. An hour ago, on 17 March 2017, investigators of military prosecution office of the Western region of Ukraine together with officers of Department for Protection of Economy of the National Police of Ukraine documented the fact that a military prosecutor of Lviv Division major of justice Savinets V.V. received an unlawful reward in the amount of 40,000 USD from the deputy head of Lviv Customs Office of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Shokalo V.S (at the moment was commissioned to temporarily perform duties of a deputy head of Ivano-Frankivsk Customs Office) for not bringing the latter to criminal responsibility and to close criminal proceedings regarding detected facts of monthly collection of bribes from employees for assistance with promotion in service and transfer of contraband across the state border of Ukraine by individual and legal persons. Money was given in a tube from Irish Whiskey that was detected and seized in full during examination of a place. A customs officer was arrested.
As we know, in June 2016 the Lviv Division of the Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation suspecting a.i. deputy head of Lviv Customs Office of the State Fiscal Service Yuriy Borysov of receiving $15,000 USD as a bribe. Within the framework of this investigation, Shokalo and two other indicated customs officers were investigated on the facts of bribery. Later on, collected data regarding the latter turned into a separate case which Shokalo tried to close.
Military prosecutor Savynets claimed in court that Shokalo offered him 10,000 USD as a bribe and also promised monthly payments in the same amount. See more details about previous meetings of parties in this case here.
On the day when Shokalo was arrested the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko reported on his Facebook page that a customs officer was giving 40,000 USD as a bribe.
Court decisions of March also say 40,000 USD, but not 10,000 USD.
On 17 March 2017 around 21:45 being on the territory of Lviv city at the crossroad of Person_13 and Person_14 temporarily performing duties of deputy head of Ivano-Frankivsk Customs Office of the State Fiscal Service Person_1 gave to a military prosecutor of Lviv Division Person_8 a paper bag with a tube containing money in the amount of 40,000 (forty thousand) US dollars as an unlawful reward for closing a criminal proceeding №42016140410000145 of 14.06.2016 and not bringing him, Person_7 and Person_6 to criminal responsibility.
An unlawful reward in the amount of 40,000 (forty thousand) US dollars given by Person_1 to Person_8 was seized during examination of a crime scene on 17.03.2017.
On 18.03.2017 Person_1 was informed of suspicion in committing a crime foreseen by part 3 of article 369 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Let us mention that at first Shokalo was charged according to part 3 of article 369 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Offer, promise or unlawful reward to an official), which foresees from 4 to 8 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property or without such.
However, a customs officer was sentenced with a much less severe article – part 1 of article 369-2 of the Criminal Code, that foresees a fine in the amount from 3,400 to 8,500 UAH and limitation of liberty for the term from 2 to 5 years or imprisonment for up to 2 years.
Shokalo has fully admitted his guilt and provided the court with an explanation similar to prosecution charges.
The court found him guilty according to part 1 of article 369-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (abuse of power) and sentenced to 8,500 UAH fine with prohibition to take up the positions in the State Fiscal Service, state and local authorities for 3 years.
A bribe in 10,000 USD was confiscated into state revenue.
When making a decision the court took into account “that a defendant committed a crime of minor gravity as well as defendant’s profile”, particularly, that he had not been convicted before, has positive characteristics from the place of residence and previous place of work, has numerous acknowledgements and rewards, voluntarily resigned from the State Fiscal Service as well as takes care of retired parents and two underage children, sincerely repented.
A sentence has not yet come into force. Parties still have time for appeal.