U.S. praises Ukrainian anti-corruption law but says more work needed
The United States is praising Ukraine for enacting legislation to establish an independent anticorruption court, but say more work is needed to complete the reforms and secure more IMF loans.
In a statement issued late on June 20, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the measure signed into law on June 11 took "an important step towards achieving the European future [the Ukrainian] people demanded during the Revolution of Dignity" which toppled a pro-Russian government in 2014, RFE/RL reports.
But she said the Verkhovna Rada should now "quickly amend the law so the proposed court will be able to hear all cases under its jurisdiction, including existing corruption cases."
The parliament should also "pass supplementary legislation to formally establish the court," Nauert said, noting that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde called for the same additional measures earlier this week.
"These steps will ensure the court is able to help roll back the corruption that threatens Ukraine’s national security, prosperity, and democratic development," Nauert said.
As UNIAN reported, in a last week's statement, following Lagarde's telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the IMF Managing Director said it had been agreed that "it is now important for parliament to quickly approve the supplementary law submitted by the President to formally establish the court, as well as the necessary amendments to restore the requirement that the anti-corruption court will adjudicate all cases under its jurisdiction, including all appeals of relevant first instance court decisions, as it was in the draft law approved in the first reading."
On June 7, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law No. 7440 on the High Anti-Corruption Court. It was supported by 315 MPs. On June 11, the president signed the law. Shortly after the vote, a dangerous loophole was spotted in the law on the anti-corruption court. In particular, the appeals in NABU cases, which are now being heard in the first instance courts, will be considered by ordinary appellate courts instead of the Anti-Corruption Court. According to the Anti-Corruption Action Center, the provision emerged in the text of the amendments, handed over to the Rada's profile committee members just one hour before the final voting.
UNIAN memo. In March 2015, the IMF approved a four-year EEF loan program for Ukraine under which $17.5 billion will be disbursed. Under the program, Ukraine has received only four disbursements from the Fund to the tune of $8.7 billion due to the slow implementation of the agreed reforms. The program is expiring in March 2019. However, the National Bank of Ukraine and the Finance Ministry expect to receive $1.9 billion from the IMF in 2018.
The key requirements of the IMF to continue cooperation include passing a law on setting up an independent anti-corruption court consistent with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, as well as bringing gas prices to import parity and providing a mechanism for their automatic regulation, with a change in the price conjuncture.