Ukraine passes corruption law in bid for more IMF aid

  07 June 2018    Read: 1673
Ukraine passes corruption law in bid for more IMF aid

Ukraine’s parliament passed a law on Thursday to create a special court to try corruption cases, a key step for the government to secure more Western aid needed to tame a rising sovereign debt burden, Reuters reported.

The law is meant to ring-fence court decisions from political pressure or bribery in Ukraine, where entrenched corruption remains a deterrent to foreign investors. Trusted international experts will help screen the chosen judges.

President Petro Poroshenko called the vote a litmus test for the country’s ability to tackle corruption and, after the law passed, said it was a victory for Ukraine.

But it was not immediately clear whether the law, which has undergone around 2,000 amendments, will pass muster with the International Monetary Fund, which supports Ukraine’s economy with a $17.5 billion cash-for-reforms package.

Ukrainian lawmakers said Kiev had brokered a late compromise formula with its foreign backers on how big a veto international experts would have on unsuitable candidates.

Not everyone was convinced, and before the vote a lawmaker even suggested contacting the IMF and the Venice Commission, a watchdog whose advice had been sought, to get live confirmation that the law complied with the IMF.

Even if the IMF is happy with the law, the government has yet to fulfill other conditions such as raising gas prices and it may struggle to stick to the IMF’s budget deficit target of 2.5 percent as elections loom next year.

The likely sacking of Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk — praised by investors for pushing reforms — after he fell out with the prime minister could also cloud aid negotiations. Parliament may vote on his dismissal on Thursday.

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