Nine out of ten, or how does the Smilyan Boarding School enter into contracts?
The Smilyansk psychoneurological boarding school is one of the institutions in the PNI network in the region. There are a total of ten such institutions in the Cherkasy Region, all of which operate under the operational management of the Department of Social Policy of the Regional Military Administration, with the Cherkasy Regional Council as their founder.
The lion's share of their funding comes from the regional budget, which is used to meet the current needs of the residents of these institutions. This includes paying the staff who care for them, as well as purchasing various necessary goods, from food to furniture and clothing.
Where there are budget funds and purchases involved, competitive procedures, such as tenders, should be in place. However, in the case of these institutions, it's a bit different.
Specifically, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Smilyan psychoneurological boarding school has entered into more than a thousand contracts worth almost 40 million hryvnias. Nine out of every ten boarding school contracts are concluded without competitive bidding. These nine out of ten contracts are worth more than 20 million hryvnias in the last two years alone.
Why such a high number of direct deals is a concerning indicator and a red flag is what we asked Ivan Lakhtionov, one of the creators of the "Dozorro" portal. He has been monitoring public procurement for many years.
"It is possible to do thorough, high-quality work and conclude a normal contract with market prices and reasonable conditions, even under a direct contract, but this is not always the case. As practice has shown, a direct contract often provides an opportunity for overpayment. Therefore, in reality, the principles of transparency, accountability, and competition among participants were established, ultimately promoting efficiency," says Lakhtionov.
Tender "favorites" of the boarding school
In less than the past two years, the Smilyan Boarding School has entered into non-competitive agreements, accounting for more than 10 million from the budget, with three local individual entrepreneurs: Yevhen Nagorniuk, Vitaly Modly, and Dmytro Vorona.
These entrepreneurs have had limited dealings with other public fund managers. In return, the boarding school has received and continues to receive a wide range of goods, primarily food products.
One common factor among these entrepreneurs is the purported warehouse space they rent in Cherkasy, as evidenced by the relevant agreements. However, we have been unable to find any connections related to on-site food sales. For many years, this location has housed a sewing factory, and more recently, a furniture store as well.
A sewing factory in Cherkasy, on the site of which there should be warehouses of successful entrepreneurs
Confirmation that there are no actual food warehouses on the premises comes from Petro Chernyavskyi, the owner of the property.
Let's now return to Smila, the official place of registration and residence of these entrepreneurs.
Work from abroad
Let's begin our investigation with Yevhen Nagorniuk. Over the course of more than 5 years of collaboration with the institution, he has secured nearly 400 contracts worth 11 million hryvnias. He is officially registered in an older building in Smila.
However, local reports suggest that he has been residing abroad for several years. According to information obtained from our sources, Nagorniuk left Ukraine at the end of June 2022 and has not returned since. Despite being overseas, he managed to sign 13 more agreements with the Smilyan boarding school, totaling over 200,000 hryvnias, all of which were direct contracts.
His overseas residence didn't hinder Nagorniuk from continuing his collaboration with the institution. While physically outside Ukraine, he received an additional 800,000 hryvnias into his own account for goods allegedly delivered under previously agreed contracts. Information about Nagorniuk's employees is lacking.
The official record doesn't quite match either. In the registry, he is also listed under the local company "Smilyansk Metal Products Plant" PRJSC, with Andriy Moroz listed as one of the enterprise's beneficiaries. Interestingly, the last name Moroz coincides with the name of the director of the psychoneurological boarding school, Tetyana Moroz, who has been heading the institution for almost a decade.
Half a thousand transactions in five years
Next on the list of successful entrepreneurs is – Vitaly Modliy. Over the past five years, he has conducted over five hundred transactions with the same boarding school, totaling more than 13 million hryvnias
Vitaly Modliy is supposedly conducting his business activities in the same building where his production facilities are registered, as indicated by the State Production and Consumer Service certificate.
However, locals assert that the name 'Modly' has never been associated with this location. This claim is supported by unpaid utility bills that bear the name 'Lyubov Moroz.' Does that name sound familiar?
Additionally, the now-dissolved company 'Faktor,' owned by Vitaliy Moroz, is registered at the same address.
The '18000' journalist also visited Vitaly Modly's place of residence, where his father mentioned that Vitaly left Ukraine two years ago and is currently working in the Czech Republic.
Furthermore, the entrepreneur's father disclosed that his son had previously worked for an individual with the surname 'Moroz,' and the two families were once neighbors.
A sign near the entrance to the residence of Vitaly Modly's father, who currently lives there, and the former residence of the Moroza family.
The surname Moroz appears frequently in the narratives of our report. For instance, Vitaly Modly's company was registered at an address associated with the Moroz family. Or, more precisely, Modly was registered at the address of a now-defunct company owned by Vitaly. There are also claims of familial connections between Vitaly and the head of a publicly-funded institution.
In a response to "18000," Vitaly Moroz acknowledged familiarity with the entrepreneurs but denied any involvement in their work.
When asked about how they became contractors for the psychoneurological boarding school, he distanced himself from the matter, stating, 'I do not interfere in those matters. I have my own issues that I'm dealing with. Please contact Tatiana Mykhailivna.
"Someone brought someone they know"
We put our questions about why the psychoneurological Internet concludes contracts without tenders to its head - Tetyana Moroz.
Director of the Smilyan psychoneurological boarding school
We lack the necessary funds to conduct a full tender to cover an entire year. As a result, while tenders were held, purchases were made through direct contracts as needed, often in small quantities. Subsequently, even tender agreements, or rather, tenders that failed to materialize because no participants showed up, were managed through direct contracts," explains Ms. Tetyana, addressing the prevalence of direct contracts.
Regarding suppliers, the director expresses confidence: "This year, we had numerous suppliers. Some of them were recommended by those who had previously worked with us. Either the individual entrepreneur themselves or their representatives got involved."
However, when the names of specific entrepreneurs are mentioned, the tone of the conversation shifts.
"Consider this – we submit our needs to the tender, they participate in the tender, and then either the documents are handed over or delivered by mail, or they are personally brought in, or someone else brings them on their behalf, with their possible authorization," notes the head of the PNI.
She is unable to provide information about the last time she saw businessman Modly.
According to information from our sources, Vitaly Modliy left Ukraine from Boryspil airport back in August 2021 and has not returned since. During this period, the institution led by Ms. Tetiana signed agreements with him totaling nearly 9 million hryvnias. Modly supplied various goods to the boarding school, including food, shoes, textiles, and electrical products, through 313 agreements. All of this occurred while he was actually residing abroad and had not hired any employees.
Additionally, it is confirmed that Tetyana Moroz has a personal relationship with Vitaly Moroz. Our data suggests that Andriy Moroz, whose name also repeatedly surfaced during the investigation, is Vitaly's son from his first marriage.
Warehouses in the apartment
Now, let's turn our attention to another prominent entrepreneur associated with the Smilyan boarding school - Dmytro Vorona. We hope that he is currently in Ukraine.
It's been suggested that the warehouses from which Vorona supplies food to the Smilyan psychoneurological boarding school are situated in a high-rise apartment.
During our investigation, we located Vorona's father at the scene. He informed us that Dmytro is employed at a dental prosthesis company and was unaware of his son's involvement in multi-million-dollar contracts until our journalist brought it to his attention. He was also surprised to learn about the existence of a warehouse with products in his apartment.
Furthermore, the entrepreneur's father has verified that Dmytro Vorona worked for entrepreneur Vitaly Moroz at one point.
Dmytro Vorona declined to provide comments over the phone.
So, what do we have here? The director of a public institution is engaging in hundreds of deals worth tens of millions of hryvnias with individuals who are not physically present in Ukraine. These individuals, who are labeled as entrepreneurs on paper, are, in reality, former employees of the Moroz family business. Is this practice legal? The situation warrants an audit.
The auditors delve so deeply into this story that it takes on a distinctive character. We will present the full details in our upcoming issue.