Corruption in army kills! Report cases of abusing power!
Accelerating the fight against corruption would be the most transformative change Ukraine could make in 2018, United States Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said on Feb. 1 at an American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine conference in Kyiv.
Source: Bermet Talant, KyivPost.
“Business investment and growth in Ukraine is not where it needs to be,” Yovanovitch said. “It is stunted by an unreliable and unreformed judicial system. For this reason, the U.S. government is a vocal advocate for the creation of Anti-Corruption Court composed of judges properly vetted and of highest integrity.”
The ambassador’s words echoes the findings of AmCham’s latest survey on corruption perceptions in the international business community in Ukraine, which was released on Jan. 29.
According to the survey’s results, 89 percent of respondents said combating corruption was a priority for fostering Ukraine economic growth and attracting foreign investment. Seventy-one percent of respondents said the courts were the most corrupt institutions, followed by the tax and customs authorities.
Yet reform in Ukraine appears to have stalled, with little progress being made in establishing the much anticipated anti-corruption court: Two bills drafted by members of parliament were blocked and withdrawn, and it was only at the end of December that President Petro Poroshenko finally submitted his draft bill on the High Anti-Corruption court to parliament.
The president’s draft bill, however, has already drawn criticism from the IMF for not meeting either the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe or Ukraine’s commitments under its $17.5-billion IMF loan program. Ukraine received the last $1 billion tranche of money from the IMF last April but has since failed to meet the requirements to be given the next tranche.
“We look forward to the speedy passage of a law that meets international standards and is in line with the Ukrainian constitution,” Ambassador Yovanovitch said.
She also pointed to some of Ukraine’s achievements in the face of the difficult circumstances the country has been in, with Russia’s ware in the Donbas still raging. In her view, the biggest achievements of the government in 2017 were the passage of the law protecting businesses from arbitrary raids by law enforcement agencies, the launch of an electronic value-added tax refund system, and a reduction in royalty rates for gas producers.
Speaking at the same AmCham event, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman announced that his cabinet has 35 pro-business laws in the pipeline.