Zelenskiy embarrassed by corruption scandal

File photo. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to media at his party's headquarters after the parliamentary elections in Kyiv, Ukraine, 21 July 2019. [Tatyana Zenkovich/EPA/EFE]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged on Wednesday (23 October) members of parliament’s Finance Committee, including from his own party, to take a polygraph test in the wake of bribery allegations.

Zelenskiy, who is currently on a visit to Japan, said in a post on Facebook that the allegations were “an attempt to discredit” his ruling Servant of the People party.

“I will not allow anyone from the [party’s] representation [in parliament] or from outside to cast a shadow on the political force that obtained a majority mandate from the Ukrainian people,” Zelenskiy wrote, calling on all members of the parliamentary Committee for Finances, Taxation and Customs Policies to take a polygraph test.

“If that test reveals even the slightest possibility that any of the lawmakers took bribes for their votes in the committee, then anti-corruption agencies must deal with them. Honest and unbiased investigation must remove all of the questions and give answers, no matter how bitter they may be,” Zelenskiy wrote.

Ukrainian media reports from earlier in the day said that 11 Verkhovna Rada lawmakers from Zelenskiy’s party had accepted up to $30,000 each in undue benefits for voting against a bill to eliminate corruption schemes to allegedly benefit property companies linked to another lawmaker.

Ukraine’s Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office announced on 23 October that it was investigating the reports, RFE/RL reported.

The scandal is a major embarrassment to Zelenskiy, who won the presidential election in April, and has vowed to fight endemic corruption in the country.

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