Military Official Found Guilty of Embezzlement, But Keeps Officer Rank

Novosibirsk-based colonel will have to pay for the write-off property

A court martial of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk considered the case of Colonel Vladimir Bovan, chief of the federal state unitary enterprise 15th Military Factory (the factory belongs to the Russian Defense Ministry). The colonel was found guilty of abusing his authorities. Vladimir Bovan was fined in the sum of 80,000 rubles (about $2,500), he was obliged with refunding his enterprise with about 700,000 rubles. Yet, the colonel was not fired from the Russian Armed Forces.

Vladimir Bovan became the chief of the 15th motor-car repair factory of the Russian Defense Ministry in December of 1994. There are about 20 factories like that in Russia. The previously-closed defense enterprise started dealing with civil orders as well: in addition to the defense technology, the factory was performing civil motor transport repairs too. The financial situation of the factory could have been improved in August of 1999, when the enterprise concluded a contract with the defense ministry's principal armored department. The contract was about dismantling almost 2,000 items of the useless defense technology of the Siberian military district.

Vladimir Bovan's authorities recommended him to settle all issues about the useless defense technology with the Novosibirsk-based division of the Holding Company Avtospetstech Ltd. The department was supposed to transfer the depreciated cost of the restored utility refuse onto a special account of the defense ministry and pay the 15th Military Factory for pre-sale works for the defense technology. The depreciated cost of the write-off property was determined by Skat-Service Ltd.  Vladimir Bovan's wife was one of the co-founders of that enterprise.

Investigators of the Novosibirsk Office of the Military Prosecutor found out, the useless defense technology never arrived  at the defense factory. To create the visibility of work, Colonel Bovan ordered his subordinates to issue fabricated orders, invoices, passes and other documents. Then, the company Skat-Service considerably reduced the depreciated cost of the property, and the division of the Holding Company Avtospetstech Ltd sold it at market prices to commercial structures. According to the materials of the investigation, 670,000 rubles were missing on the special account of the Russian Defense Ministry as a result of the artifice.

The Office of the Military Prosecutor charged Vladimir Bovan with power abuse. Criminal charges have also been brought against Viktor Mikhailov, chief of the automobile service of the 41st army of the Siberian military district. Investigators determined, Colonel Bovan could not act alone.

Vladimir Bovan explained during the investigation, he was acting for the sake of his factory's interests. He did not plead guilty. The state prosecutor asked the court to sentence the colonel to four years in prison on probation. Having listened to arguments and counter-arguments of the defense, presiding judge Yury Dubov ruled to fine the colonel in the sum of 80,000 rubles. In addition to it, the court martial upheld the civil lawsuit of the defense ministry about levying the above-mentioned 670,000 rubles from the colonel. The court martial decided not to apply other penalties against the colonel: Vladimir Bovan will have his officer rank preserved together with his state rewards (the order "For The Service To The Fatherland In The Air Force Of The USSR" and the medal "For Service In Battle").

Konstantin Voronov

Author`s name Olga Savka