G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine, Head of EU Delegation to Ukraine send letter to President Poroshenko regarding fight against corruption

G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine, Head of EU Delegation to Ukraine send letter to President Poroshenko regarding fight against corruption

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Ukrinform
The G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine and the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine have sent a letter to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, underscoring the threats, which have recently arisen in the fight against corruption in Ukraine, and the need for consistent struggle against this phenomenon.

Ukrinform learnt this from an informed source in the diplomatic circles.

The letter to Poroshenko was signed by Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine Shigeki Sumi, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Roman Vashchuk, Ambassador of France to Ukraine Isabelle Dumont, Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine Ernst Reichel, Italian Ambassador to Ukraine Davide La Cecilia, British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough, US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli.

The authors of the letter primarily note that they "appreciate Ukraine's efforts and achievements in creating a comprehensive system aimed at preventing and fighting corruption." In particular, they welcome the fact that "Ukraine has set up several key anti-corruption bodies such as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) over the past two years." It is noted that the establishment of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the launch of the Electronic Declaration system “are of similar importance.” The diplomats also commend "the important steps taken in closing the space for corruption, notably through the ongoing reform of the banking and energy sectors."

However, the diplomats state they observe with concern "that over recent weeks several legislative initiatives threaten to put this important anti-corruption system and the reform agenda in jeopardy." In particular, in their opinion, "some draft bills, if adopted, would weaken the Electronic Declaration system and curtail the NABU's and SAPO's competences in investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption cases."

"We consider that the full independence from political interference and undisputed competence of these specialized institutions is paramount for the effective fight against corruption," the G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine and the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine note.

Accordingly, they believe that these institutions need "particular attention and support" of the President of Ukraine. In particular, addressing the President of Ukraine, the authors of the letter write that "the ability to perform their duties should be enhanced further, e.g. by being provided adequate means and resources to ensure the effective functioning of these institutions, impartiality and the delivery of tangible results, and by reforms to improve the court system in which they operate." As for other state institutions, including the General Prosecutor’s Office, they "should be called upon to fully cooperate with the aforementioned specialized institutions, in compliance with the Constitution and current anti-corruption legislation," the letter says.

The G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine and the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine also note: "We welcome the launch of the Electronic Declaration system on 1 September 2016. Recent developments, however, have raised concerns about its full functionality. Given the upcoming filing deadline, we encourage the Ukrainian state bodies to take all necessary steps to correct the current technical shortcomings and to ensure that data obtained can be processed by the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and used in court by the relevant authorities." It is also noted that the diplomats “view proposals for restrictive draft legislation with concern, in particular during the current period before the deadline for declarations.”

In this context, the G7 Ambassadors in Ukraine and the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine also stressed that "more generally, we note with concern recurrent efforts to introduce amendments to recently passed reform bills, which are aimed at walking back reform steps just taken." "Such initiatives undermine public and, international confidence in Ukraine's reform endeavours and would be contrary to Ukraine's commitments made to its international partners," they are convinced.

Finally, addressing President Poroshenko, the authors of the letter again emphasize and assure: "We very much commend your past efforts to implement anti-corruption legislation. We view the fight against corruption as a key indicator of Ukraine's ability to reform and attract investment, and we stand ready to support Ukraine's efforts in this regard."

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