IMF backs Ukrainian anti-corruption court

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed Ukraine’s revised plans for an anti-corruption court, fulfilling one condition for unlocking the next 2 billion US dollar instalment of aid to Kyiv, according to Reuters.

The Ukrainian parliament approved amendments to the new law needed to set up the court on July 12 after a previous version was deemed by the IMF to be too loose.

“The legislative framework for the High Anti-Corruption Court, once the recently adopted amendments are signed into law, will be consistent with the authorities’ commitments under Ukraine’s IMF-supported program,” an IMF spokesperson told Reuters.

The court is being set up as part of Ukraine’s 17.5 billion US dollar bailout package and has become a symbol of its efforts to stamp out high-level corruption that has blighted the country for decades. It is intended to ring-fence court decisions from political pressure or bribery in Ukraine, where corruption deters foreign investors and is estimated to knock two percentage points off economic growth each year.

According to the International Monetary Fund, a number of other issues remain to be resolved, however, before Kyiv finally receives the next installment. There is a standoff over plans to raise gas prices as well as over implementing additional spending cuts or money-raising measures needed to plug some shortfalls in revenues earlier in the year.

Ukraine has received only half the 17.5 billion US dollars earmarked for its aid program which is due to run out next year. It has not had any fresh money since April last year and needs to repay around 15 billion US dollars of foreign currency debt over the next two years.

“Discussions on other outstanding issues, including gas prices and the government budget, are ongoing,” the IMF said.

(Source: Reuters)