IMF and World Bank say Ukraine corruption fight is threatened
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Thursday said they were concerned about attacks on Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions, joining the United States and European Union in warning against threats to Ukraine’s efforts.
The two banks are among the largest financial contributors to a $40 billion bailout package given to Ukraine to shore up and reform its economy after the 2014 Maidan protests ousted the Kremlin-backed president.
But perceived backsliding on reform commitments has delayed billions of dollars in IMF loans and tested the patience of foreign allies, even as Kiev pushes for closer European Union integration and increased foreign investment.
"We are deeply concerned by recent events in Ukraine that could roll back progress that has been made in setting up independent institutions to tackle high-level corruption," IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement.
Ukraine’s backers are particularly concerned about recent actions by prosecutors that they say threaten the independence of the anti-corruption bureau known as NABU, which was set up after the Maidan protests and has been at loggerheads with other law enforcement bodies.
"We urge the Ukrainian authorities and parliament to safeguard the independence of NABU and SAPO (anti-corruption prosecutor)," Lagarde said.
In one recent episode, the General Prosecutor’s office unmasked an alleged sting operation being carried out by NABU against suspected corruption in the migration service. It said NABU had overstepped the law.