Why payment of salaries is blocked in Kakhovka community?

Фото: kakhovka-rada.gov.ua

The State Treasury of Ukraine blocked bank accounts of almost all bodies of the executive committee of Kakhovka urban territorial community. As Kherson Oblast Military Administration explains there are two reasons behind this decision. «Mayor of Kakhovka» Pavlo Filipchuk appointed by Russian occupants illegally intervenes into accounting procedures whereas legitimate mayor Vitalli Nemerets does nothing to solve the problem. The latter calls these accusations «biased» and persuades the problem will be solved very soon.

There are serious problems with payment of May salaries to teachers and personnel of local self-government bodies in temporarily occupied Kakhovka. There are two reasons behind them.
The first is manipulation with accounting documents by Pavlo Filipchuk, the «head of Kakhovka» appointed by Russian occupants. The second is indifferent attitude of legitimate mayor of
Kakhovka, in accordance with statements of Serhii Klan, advisor to the head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration. This information is confirmed by sources of the Center for Journalist
Investigations in Kakhovka.

«All accounting documents of Kakhovka City Council are taken by traitor Filipchuk who declares himself «the mayor of Kakhovka»: all accounting software, access codes, electronic keys and
signatures. That is why he is able to control the payment of salaries to teachers and personnel of the executive committee of the city council. He pays salaries to traitors and does not pay them to those who refused to cooperate with occupants. And here is the question – how did it happen that accounting documents are now held by occupants? Why legitimate Kakhovka mayor Vitalii Nemerets did not prevent this situation? He spent one month in occupied Kakhovka and was able to do it», as Serhii Khlan wrote in his Facebook account.

Serhii Khlan, advisor to the head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration, photo: slovoidilo.ua

As he says, Vitalii Nemerets had an opportunity to evacuate all accounting documents and digital keys from the building of Kakhovka City Council seized by Russian occupants on April 1.
Nemerets was also able to help to evacuate personnel having access to resources of the city budget.

«As the former police colonel, Vitalii Nemerets should understand it without my advices. It seems that he and his first deputy Galyna Gondareva consciously delayed necessary decisions, in order to transfer accounting documents to Russian occupants. They left Kakhovka after all documents were taken by occupants. And this is not the end of story. Now Vitalii Nemerets stays in Kyiv and each month he asks Filipchuk to pay him a salary! And Filipchuk pays. How can this behavior be explained? At the same time, Nemerets asks «to wait a little bit» those teachers under occupation who refused to cooperate with occupants and, as an outcome, do not receive their salaries», as Khlan emphasized.

Vitalii Nemerets, photo: kakhovka-rada.gov.ua

Advisor to the head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration believes that the mayor of Kakhovka hided information about absence of distant access to accounting documentation of
the city council for three months. As an outcome, payment of salaries is now stalled. «But I am confident that oblast military administration will find the solution whereas the State Security
Service of Ukraine will find an answer to the dubious behavior of mayor», as Khlan added. Information published by Khlan is confirmed by CJI’s sources in Kakhovka City Council. They told us that city mayor Vitalii Nemerets and his deputies had enough time to secure distant access to the city budget. But they did not do it.

«As a result, salaries and other payments to bank cards of teachers and other personnel of local self-government can be made only in the building of Kakhovka City Council. But the building is
under full control of Russian occupants. At the same time, «mayor of Kakhovka» Pavlo Filipchuk requires public officials of city council to pay salaries from the Ukrainian budget to him
personally and «his people»: self-proclaimed «directors» of schools or «public officials» appointed by Russian occupants. Filipchuk regularly intervened into accounting procedures and
«ordered» not to pay salaries to legitimate heads of educational institutions as well as public officials he does not like», as told us public official from Kakhovka City Council under conditions
of anonymity.

He also reported that the State Treasury of Ukraine blocked accounts of almost all bodies of city executive committee (one exception – central city hospital named after Pankeev family) on
May 27. As he said Russian occupants also seized all document with addresses and other personal data of city inhabitants. They were taken from city department keeping the register of city residents. After February 24 city mayor and other top managers of local self-government did not find the time to hide them or destroy. They could easily destroy them as majority of these documents are stored in Ukrainian state electronic registers. Access to them was closed on the first day of Russian invasion into Kherson region. Personnel of city educational institutions also failed to get clear decisions from legitimate city mayor.

«After the first day of war we asked city mayor and his deputy on educational affairs – what we have to do? What should we do if the city will be occupied by Russians? We received one
answer to all our questions: «Nothing. Take care. Everything’s under control». City managers did not conduct any meetings with city council members or teachers. All they did was online speeches. People called them «tik-talks». They were meaningless and did not have any impact because by that time a few people had an access to internet and were able to watch them.
Nobody addressed us during three months. I have an impression Vitalii Nemerets and Galyna Gondareva did not want to perform their duties», as told us teacher of Kakhovka school under conditions of anonymity.

Legitimate management of Kakhovka City Council provided a few comments about this situation. The only official statement about problem with salaries was published on the official
Facebook account of Kakhovka community on May 29: «There are problems with payment of salaries in May. They are caused by curfew and occupation of our community by the Russian
Federation. The leadership of our community addressed the head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration. We hope the problem will be settled in the nearest future».

The Center for Journalist Investigations had a phone conversation with the mayor of Kakhovka City Council. Vitalii Nemerets called information of Serhii Khlan «biased».

«Everybody wants victory. He is looking for elections. The problem does exist. We do our best to solve it. When there will be concrete results – everybody will see them. There are problems
which I cannot solve. The head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration is aware about situation and he helps. I hope there will be results soon», as told us mayor of Kakhovka Vitalii Nemerets.

Photo: travel.creature.biz.ua

The same problems are observed in Genichesk territorial community. Mayor of Genichesk Oleksandr Tulupov announced his resignation on March 12. All his deputies, a secretary of the
city council, an executive secretary of the executive committee and other public officials also resigned. As an outcome, legitimate Genichesk City Council lost an access to financial
documents and electronic keys. As CJI’s sources in Genichesk reported, after March nobody has the right to sign and authorize financial documents in the community because first deputy mayor and secretary of the city council refused to perform duties of the mayor. The head of local department of education also resigned. It became impossible to pay salaries to teachers, personnel of cultural institutions and other bodies of local self-government as well as social assistance to families with many children, orphans or other people from vulnerable categories. Though, local budget does have resources to make these payments.

Luckily, majority of local communities of Kherson region do pay salaries to teachers and personnel of local self-government bodies and social assistance to vulnerable groups. One of the reasons is that Russian occupants do not intervene into respective procedures. They are busy with stealing property and products of local entrepreneurs and agricultural enterprises.

«Problems with payment of salaries in Genichesk and Kakhovka communities can be solved by creating military civic administrations there. They will be able to conduct payments and sign necessary documents. Their creation depends upon decision of the President of Ukraine because only the President can create them, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation», as assistant to the head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration Serhii Khlan told the Center for Journalist Investigations.

Material is prepared by non-profit «Information press center» within IWPR project under the support of the European Union and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.