Twenty-one people accused of corruption in health sector go on trial

Twenty-one people are answering charges over corruption schemes in the health sector in a trial that opened in the Minsk City Court on August 19.

Judge Ihar Lyubavitski is presiding over the trial.

Eight of those in the dock are former representatives of health sector establishments who are accused of accepting bribes.

Those accused include Alyaksandr Stalyarow, a former director of the health ministry’s Center for Expert Reviews and Tests in Healthcare, Syarhey Zinchanka, a former deputy director, and Vyachaslaw Hnitsiy, a former director general of a state-owned drugstore chain called Belfarmatsyya.

Mikhail Hawrylaw, a former director general of state-owned pharmaceutical company Akadzemfarm, is answering charges of accepting and giving bribes.

Eleven people in the dock are accused of giving bribes. They include Syarhey Shakutsin, a businessman and the younger brother of business tycoon Alyaksandr Shakutsin. He is a founder of Iskamed, a pharmaceutical importer and distributor that operates a drugstore chain.

Business Uladzimir Ladutska is also on trial. The director of a private supplier of medical equipment called Geol-M was a key witness in the earlier trials of Uladzimir Krawchonak, a former chief physician of Dental Clinic No. 12 in Minsk, Andrey Stryzhak, a former head of the health department of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee, and Syarhey Karytska, a former chief physician of the Minsk-based National Center for Medical Rehabilitation and Balneology.

Some 100 people were arrested in Belarus last year over corruption involving the the supply of equipment and pharmaceuticals to hospitals.