Ukraine parliament approves IMF-backed bill to jail officials for hiding wealth

by Reuters
Thursday, 15 April 2021 14:52 GMT

(Adds details)

KYIV, April 15 (Reuters) - Ukrainian lawmakers approved draft legislation at the first reading on Thursday to impose jail sentences on officials who make false asset declarations.

The legislation, which needs to be voted on a second time to come into force, is a requirement for the government to secure more loans from the International Monetary Fund under a $5 billion programme.

The IMF did not immediately comment on the lawmakers' approval of the draft legislation.

Last October the constitutional court struck down some anti-corruption laws as excessive, including legislation that allows for the jailing of corrupt officials for hiding their wealth.

That ruling has hobbled Ukraine's prospects of securing more IMF loans and prompted President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to suspend the head of the court, who accused Zelenskiy of trying to mount a "constitutional coup".

Zelenskiy submitted a new draft law to parliament, which stipulates that officials who do not submit their asset declarations or fail to declare assets worth more than 4.2 million hryvnias (about $150,000) face two years in jail.

Oleksandr Bakumov, a lawmaker from Zelenskiy's party Servant of the People, said before the vote that parliament should support the president because "corrupt actions cause significant harm and are socially dangerous".

Earlier on Thursday, presidential adviser Oleg Ustenko told Reuters that Kyiv's standoff with Moscow over the conflict in eastern Ukraine had made the need to secure IMF financing more urgent. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Matthias Williams and Gareth Jones)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.