Sept 29, 2021


The Kyiv Post reported, “The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed three remaining members of the supervisory board of Naftogaz, the state-owned gas and oil giant, on Sept. 27.


As the owner of Naftogaz, the government automatically assumes the powers of the company’s supervisory board until the new one is formed, according to the official statement on the government’s website.


Naftogaz has been the source of growing public concern since the dismissal of its CEO Andriy Kobolyev and his replacement by former acting energy minister Vitrenko in April.


To appoint Vitrenko, the Cabinet of Ministers fired Kobolyev directly by temporarily disbanding the supervisory board members, who backed Kobolyev.


The National Agency on Corruption Prevention later said that Vitrenko’s Naftogaz appointment violated a statute that requires a year to pass before a departing official who has had power over a state enterprise can get a job at that enterprise. However, Vitrenko — who was serving as acting energy minister — did not have supervisory authority over Naftogaz.


In protest, all but one of the six-person supervisory board announced their resignations. Eventually, three of them, including chief Clare Spottiswoode, quit on Sept. 7. Spottiswoode accused Vitrenko of not cooperating with the supervisory board.


Naftogaz’s supervisory board consists of six members: three representatives of the state and three independent experts selected through an open competition.


The resignation of three independent members left the board with no quorum required to make a decision.


In early September, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal ordered the start of a competition to select new independent members this fall.


In the meantime, the government fired the remaining three supervisory board members — state-appointed Yulia Kovaliv, Yulia Svyrydenko and Natalia Boyko — and de facto acquired the authority of the supervisory board. The government justified the decision by saying that the stable operation of Naftogaz is its ‘unconditional priority.’”