Avakov covers up tracks in the backpacks case: the Ministry of Justice will check the forensics expert

On Friday, February 8, the Ministry of Justice will check the forensics expert Nadiya Bugrova, who defined the real value of Avakov’s backpacks and established the fact of their poor quality.

According to representatives of the Ministry, the examination is scheduled from 14:00 to 15:00 at the expert’s office at the address: Kyiv, 1-5 Sichovych striltsiv street, office 706.

This is the first examination of Nadiya Bugrova in the last 3 years. She has not received any complaints or claims regarding her expert opinions for 37 years of her experience until she did forensics in the case of “Avakov’s backpacks”. She had been involved in the most challenging researches.

In December 2018, the expert Nadiya Bugrova received notice from the Ministry of Justice about planned examination of her activities. On February 8, representatives of the Ministry of Justice will come to her workplace to check her work over past 3 years.

“Tomorrow’s examination by the Ministry of Justice is the continuation of the story. They have already made up the criminal case against the expert. Also, most documents in the case of backpacks were seized on flimsy grounds during searches. It looks like pressure on independent experts, as well as covering up tracks before elections. Because Avakov is afraid that the case against his son and deputy may be reopened”, – says Olena Shcherban, the lawyer of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.

Tomorrow’s examination by the Ministry of Justice may end up with the fact that they could nulify Nadiya Bugrova’s expert license in order to cancel the conclusion in the case of backpacks and prohibit her further professional activities.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau involved the judicial expert Nadiya Bugrova for conducting the comprehensive commodity forensics in the case of so-called “Avakov backpacks”. The forensics was conducted in early 2017.

According to its results, Nadiya Bugrova found that backpacks did not meet ten requirements of the procurement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. She confirmed that the Ministry had procured completely different backpacks and revealed the number of production defects. Prosecutors and detectives referred to her conclusions indicating the poor quality tailoring of the backpacks.

Nadiya Bugrova set 555 UAH as the real value of backpacks, while Avakov’s Ministry paid 5 times more, namely 2,899 UAH per piece.

At the end of October 2017, Avakov’s son and deputy Chebotar were presented the notices of suspicion. The amount of state losses due to their scheme was 14 million UAH.

In spring 2018, the Ministry of Justice initiated the review of Nadiya Bugrova’s forensics conclusion in the backpacks case in Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise.

Moreover, one of Bugrova’s former clients suddenly sent the appeal to the Ministry of Justice regarding another forensics conducted by her. On this ground the Expert-Qualification Commission of the Ministry of Justice issued warning to the expert due to a minor violation and, in fact, a clerical error regarding the assignation of research to the certain type of forensics.

In July 2018, SAPO prosecutor Vasyl Krychun ceased the “case of backpacks” against two key subjects: the son of the Minister Avakov and his deputy Chebotar.

The criminal proceeding against the expert in the case Nadiya Bugrova was opened. She found out about it from the media.

In August 2018, the Prosecutor Kryvenko concluded the plea deal with the minor subject of the backpacks case – middleman Volodymyr Lytvyn. In September 2018, the court approved this deal. No one was brought to real accountability for corrupt schemes.

In November, the Police investigators of Khmelnytskyi region came to search home and office of the expert Nadiya Bugrova.

The search was justified by the fact that the expert had allegedly once assessed the property of the Ministry of Defense and had undervalued it. However, this fact did not correspond to reality, because Nadiya Bugrova had never conducted such assessment of the property of the Ministry of Defense.

But the most interesting thing is that the Police investigators were interested in materials of the forensics expertise in the case of Avakov’s backpacks. They had completely seized these materials despite the fact that they did not have court’s permission and their investigation was not related to the backpacks’ forensics in any way.

Moreover, investigators seized the number of other examination materials of the expert, seized all family funds, bank cards of the whole family and even cell phones.

After such actions, the 63-year-old expert got into the hospital because of heart problems and hearing complications. She stayed there almost for 2 months.

In December, the Police investigators in Khmelnytskyi did not hesitate to bring summon for questioning for the expert to the hospital. And on December 22, they brought the notice of suspicion to the hospital too.

This notice of suspicion was radically different from circumstances noted in the search order.

Judging by the suspicion, the expert has already been charged with the fraud due to her salary in the amount of 5,000 UAH in the center of legal aid “Pravozahyst” and forgery of expert opinions. Nadiya Bugrova faces up to 3 years of imprisonment for this.

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