Ukrainian parliament passes imperfect anti-corruption bill

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The Ukrainian parliament has adopted a bill that strengthens the independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO), but kept some of the amendments that water it down, Yaroslav Zheleznyak MP said in a Telegram post on Dec. 8.

The final draft "only very partially" removed some norms based on "Lozovyi's amendments," said Zheleznyak.

The adoption of the relevant draft law was one of the main requirements of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the ambassadors of G7 countries.

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"It is true that the latter's position on Lozovyi's amendments was ignored," wrote the lawmaker.

"Lozovyi’s amendments" refer to the changes to the Criminal Code, which, among other things, provided for a way for officials suspected of corruption to stall efforts to prosecute them.

While the passed bill significantly tightens the window for corrupt officials to make use of the loophole, it was not removed entirely — contrary to the suggestions made by Ukraine's Western partners.

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In their Dec. 5 joint statement, the G7 ambassadors' outlined the main requirements that should be specified in the new law on strengthening the SAPO, emphasizing that for the reform to be effective, it is necessary to cancel the effect of the "Lozovyi amendments," as well as protect the jurisdiction of the SAPO/NABU and allow the SAPO to make extradition requests and initiate an investigation against sitting MPs.

The Cabinet introduced the bill on Sept. 15. In it, the government proposed to terminate the operation of the SAPO as a department of the Prosecutor General's Office and to grant the institution the status of an independent legal entity in the law enforcement system.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine