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Ukraine Adopts New Anti-Corruption Bill

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TEHRAN, March 19 (ICANA) – The Ukrainian parliament approved a new long-awaited anti-corruption legislation.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:10:53 PM
Ukraine Adopts New Anti-Corruption Bill

The new State policy on preventing and combating corruption was submitted by the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych. According to Yanukovych, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption monitoring body has already put a positive value on the law.

The main point of the new legislation is that it will require key officials and their family members to declare their incomes and, more importantly, any expenses that exceed their incomes. However, the MPs have to first outline the definition of “close relative” - should it go further than husband or wife and include grandparents, children, brothers and sisters or not. Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, is confident in the bill saying that the most effective anti-corruption measure will be to oblige Ukrainian officials to declare all their spending and expenses.

According to the Transparency International report, Ukraine is one of the most corrupted countries in the world on par with Peru, Mexico and Bolivia. The most frequent areas in which companies encounter corruption in Ukraine are business licensing, taxation and customs.

Experts say even though government officials have pledged to fight corruption and claim it is at the top of their priority, Ukraine has made little progress in reducing corruption over the past several years. Moreover, experts predict that the new law won't work as well as it is intended, because MPs will not want to publicize their income and the income of their families. Thus, they will find other methods to draw the curtain.

The Ukrainian President has said that a government body should be set up to oversee the new bill and to guarantee it is being implemented properly.

For several years now, observers have been urging Ukraine to adopt anti-corruption laws to meet its international obligations and show greater political will to fight corruption. At the moment, corruption has such a sustained impact on companies, state decision-making and the daily lives of citizens that it is perceived by many as a normal part of life.

The new law is expected to provide a better mechanism to combat corruption in the country. But experts remain highly skeptical, saying that only a change in the government could do that.

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