Ukraine President rejects PM's resignation over audiotape scandal

The prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said that the tape was doctored with and had submitted his resignation on Friday

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected the resignation submitted by the Prime Minister of the country Oleksiy Honcharuk. The pm had submitted the resignation after an audiotape made the news in which a man was heard criticizing the president's knowledge of economics. The audio is from a meeting of the prime minister, finance minister and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) back in December.

The prime minister stated the tape was doctored with and had submitted his resignation on Friday which the president has rejected, as per media reports.

"I decided to give you and your government a second chance," Xinhua news agency quoted Zelensky as saying to the Prime Minister during a "clear the air" meeting on Friday, the same day Honcharuk had put forth his offer to quit.

Oleksiy Honcharuk
Oleksiy Honcharuk Wikimedia Commons

But Zelensky added that this was dependant on Honcharuk's ability to tackle the issue of high salaries among government ministers and other issues to keep his job, a BBC report said. At the meeting, the president described the situation around the leaked recording as "very unpleasant".

Zelensky gave Ukrainian authorities 2 weeks to track down source of leak

Zelensky also gave the Ukrainian authorities two weeks to track down the source of the leak. Earlier on Friday, Honcharuk a 35-year-old trained lawyer, submitted his resignation following a leaked audio recording of him reportedly criticizing Zelensky's understanding of the economy.

"I took office to implement the president's program. I see him as a model of transparency and decency. However, to remove any doubts in our respect for and trust in the president, I have written a resignation letter and submitted it to the president with the right to hand it to the Parliament," Honcharuk wrote Friday morning on his official Facebook page.

Audiotape was uploaded to an anonymous YouTube channel

On Wednesday evening, the audiotape was uploaded to an anonymous YouTube channel in which a voice sounding like Honcharuk was reportedly heard discussing the national budget with some other government ministers and senior officials from the national bank.

The authenticity of the recording has not been officially confirmed. Honcharuk took the position of the Prime Minister on August 29, 2019, following the nomination of Zelensky.