Some 14 billion rubles, or nearly 500 million dollars, were “misspent” by the Russian military last year, the head of Russia’s audit chamber said Thursday.
“We are not talking about theft, but money allocated to the defense ministry being misspent or used ineffectively,” Sergei Stepashin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
He said some generals were inflating the figures for the number of troops serving in their contingents in order to receive greater financing, and that hundreds of millions of dollars allocated by the government for one use were then spent on something else.
But Stepashin said that the situation in the military was actually improving.
“In the early 1990s the situation was much worse in this respect,” Stepashin said.
“A lot of credit for the improvements in this sphere should be given to the military prosecutor’s office and to the military counter-intelligence service. No corrupt official goes unpunished.
“This is a serious signal for those who violate the law,” he said.
He added that the largest number of financial crimes were being committed in defense agencies responsible for the distribution of food and housing, and for mortgage lending.
The audit chamber is an advisory body in Russia with no power to launch cases against or prosecute suspected criminals.