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Only a word

Transparency International reports a total lack of progress on fighting corruption in Ukraine, with the battle remaining in word, rather than in deed.

According to one dictionary, corruption is the activity of public officials aimed at unlawfully using the powers given them for material gain, services, concessions or other benefits.

“Ukraine’s shadow economy makes up around a third of GNP”

According to Transparency International’s rating, Ukraine is in 118th place out of 180 in terms of its level of corruption.  The organization’s director for Europe and Central Asia, Miklosz Marshall, stresses that Ukrainian politicians should be turning from words to deeds and stepping up action on fulfilling Ukraine’s commitments to the international community.

“It’s not without regret that we have to acknowledge that Ukraine has not made progress, and is not fulfilling its commitments to the international community on fighting corruption”.

Mr Marshall says that Ukraine’s shadow economy makes up around a third of GNP and that there is no progress in overcoming it. Of the 24 recommendations in the Istanbul Action Plan, Ukraine has only fully implemented three.

He says that corruption with State procurement is especially dangerous for Ukraine. As far as the construction or real estate markets are concerned, they are only open to “inside players” which he believes seriously diminishes Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Those who have studied Ukrainian corruption point also to the unlimited obstacles put by Ukrainian bureaucrats in the path of developing business enterprise. Mr Marshal notes that you need 29 licences or permits to start a business in Ukraine.

“Two things are needed – independent criminal investigations and independent courts”

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union’s Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky stresses that Ukrainian officials only talk about corruption and ways to overcome it, but do not make any real investigations into it.

“We first need to ensure independent criminal investigations since these investigations are not independent and none of the anti-corruption programmes have addressed this. To fight corruption two things are needed – independent criminal investigations and independent courts to then examine the cases”

Lawyer Tetyana Montyan is convinced that in order to combat corruption, we need to tackle the causes not the effects. “Why is there no corruption in some countries? It’s because they have open records, open formalization of property, and public officials account for all expenditure and profits. And just let them try to live better than their official income allows. Until you have open records and formalization, any politician who comes to power won’t hold out against the temptation. You need to remove the causes, not the results”.

You don’t need to change people’s blood?

Ukrainian politicians and officials like to sigh, speak of there being corruption everywhere and imply that it’s in the blood. Yet specialists say there is no need to change ones blood. It would be better to create order in the system of State procurement, improve the tax system, complete work on the package of anti-corruption laws, limit immunity for deputies and judges and create a single anti-corruption body which would coordinate and implement anti-corruption policy.

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