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Ukraine’s government assumes full control over Naftogaz

On Sept. 27, the Cabinet of Ministers fired three members of Naftogaz’s supervisory board.

According to the official statement posted on the government’s site, as Naftogaz’s owner, the government assumes all powers of the company’s supervisory board, until a new one is formed.

Naftogaz has become a source of increasing public concern since its dismissal by Andriy Kobolyev, its CEO, and his replacement in April by Vitrenko (ex-energy minister), which has caused a lot of concern.

To appoint Vitrenko the Cabinet of Ministers fired Kobolyev by dissolving temporarily the members of the supervisory board who had backed Kobolyev.

Later, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention stated that Vitrenko’s Naftogaz appointment was in violation of a statute which requires that a year pass before any departing official with power over a state-owned enterprise can apply for a job at that entity. Vitrenko, who was acting energy minister, did not have any supervisory authority over Naftogaz.

All six members of the supervisory board resigned in protest. On Sept. 7, three of them quit, including chief Clare Spottiswoode. Spottiswoode accused Vitrenko, accusing him of not cooperating in the supervision board.

The Naftogaz supervisory board is composed of six members. Three are representatives of the state, and three are independent experts chosen through an open competition.

Three independent members resigned, leaving the board without the quorum necessary to take a decision.

Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Russia, ordered that a competition be started to choose new independent members for the fall.

The government de facto took control of the supervisory boards by firing the three remaining members, Yulia Kvaliv, Yulia Styrydenko, and Natalia Boyko, who were state-appointed. The government justification for the decision was that Naftogaz’s stable operation is its “unconditional prioritization.”

The government resigned Yaroslav Teklauk and Serhiy Pereloma, two of Naftogaz’s three executive board members. Vitrenko retained the seat.

Four Naftogaz employees were then made acting members of Naftogaz’s executive board.