Ukraine nabs top state executive for graft

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a cabinet meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (AP)
Updated 21 April 2017
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Ukraine nabs top state executive for graft

KIEV: Ukraine’s stuttering fight against high-level corruption gathered pace on Friday as a top state energy executive was detained a day after the arrest of a close ally of former premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) nabbed Naftogaz state deputy board chairman Sergiy Pereloma on embezzlement allegations as part of a probe that also saw parliament’s former energy committee chairman Mykola Martynenko detained.
Martynenko was picked up on Thursday and could face up to 12 years in prison for allegedly embezzling $17.28 million (€16.12 million) from Europe’s largest — and Ukraine’s only — uranium extraction and processing plant.
The powerful ex-member of Yatsenyuk’s political party is accused of syphoning off the money and parking it in an offshore account while overseeing the purchase of uranium concentrate from Kazakhstan by Ukraine’s Eastern Mining and Enrichment Combine.
The deputy gave up his parliament seat under pressure in November 2015.
Yatsenyuk himself quit in April 2016 after a tumultuous spell that saw several respected technocrats who rose to power after Ukraine’s 2014 pro-EU revolution resign over rampant graft.
Martynenko and Pereloma are being held in temporary detention while their cases come up for initial review.
Strengthening Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau was one of the top demands of the International Monetary Fund connected to a $17.5 billion rescue package for Ukraine in 2015.
The IMF and Western governments have been expressing increasing concern that Ukraine was refusing to combat graft that helped lead to the downfall of Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.
NABU was established in 2014 but its first detectives did not get to work until December of the following year.
Its headquarter were raided by prosecutors in 2016 in what NABU believes was an attempt by remnants of the old guard to halt its investigations into the upper echelons of power.
The former Soviet republic is 131st of 176 countries and territories on a 2016 Transparency International index where they are ranked from least to most corrupt.


Trump Administration says it knows location of all children

Updated 1 min 10 sec ago
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Trump Administration says it knows location of all children

Trump administration officials say the US government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them.
A fact sheet on “zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification” released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security also says a parent must request that their child be deported with them. In the past, the agency says, many parents have elected to be deported without their children. That may be a reflection of violence or persecution they face in their home countries.
As part of the effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have posted notices in all its facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A parent or guardian trying to determine if a child is in the custody of HHS should contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001, or via email [email protected] Information will be collected and sent to HHS funded facility where minor is located.
The fact sheet doesn’t state how long it might take to reunite families. The Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Texas has been set up as the staging ground for the families to be reunited prior to deportation.
How the government would reunite families has been unclear because the families are first stopped by Customs and Border Patrol, with children taken into custody by HHS and adults detained through ICE. Children have been sent to shelters around the country, raising alarm that parents might never know where their children can be found.
The fact sheet states that ICE has implemented an identification mechanism to ensure on-going tracking of linked family members throughout the detention and removal process; designated detention locations for separated parents and will enhance current processes to ensure communication with children in HHS custody; worked closely with foreign consulates to ensure that travel documents are issued for both the parent and child at time of removal; and coordinated with HHS for the reuniting of the child prior to the parents’ departure from the US
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the practice of separating parents and their children to stop. As of last Wednesday, 2,053 minors who were separated at the border were being cared for in HHS-funded facilities, the fact sheet said.
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This version of the story has been corrected to say that the fact sheet was issued by the Department of Homeland Security, not Health and Human Services,
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Online:
HHS zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification fact sheet:
http://apne.ws/qjYtmJR
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Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/resource/orr-national-call-center