US, IMF Praise Ukrainian Anticorruption Law But Say More Work Needed
The United States and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are 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.
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 Ukraineâs national security, prosperity, and democratic development," Nauert said.
Lagarde has linked further funding for Ukraine under the IMF's $17.5 billion loan program to the anticorruption reforms. She said late on June 19 that the enacted court legislation needed to be amended to ensure the court is effective.
Lagarde said in a statement that she had spoken with President Petro Poroshenko and "we agreed that it is now important for parliament to quickly approve...the necessary amendments to restore the requirement that the [anticorruption court] will adjudicate all cases under its jurisdiction."
The IMF has said that political pressure and bribery remain significant problems in Ukraine, where it says entrenched c orruption has deterred foreign investment and reduced Ukraine's potential economic growth rate by about two percentage points a year.
Establishing the anticorruption court is one of three conditions that the IMF has laid down for Ukraine to receive further loans. The other two issues involve raising gas prices closer to market levels and honoring commitments to restrain budget spending.
Lagarde said she and Poroshenko "also agreed to work closely together" on the gas price and budget issues.