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Corruption in Ukraine is an acute problem that has been going on for a long time. The fight against corruption has already become a “catch-all” slogan of many parties running for Parliament and presidential candidates. In almost all cases, the promise was never fulfilled. Sometimes, of course, parties or presidents broadcast the fight in the form of the creation of new structures or entire anti-corruption bodies.
Even public expositions and arrests of officials involved in corruption schemes were organized. Unfortunately, there were so few such cases that, as a whole, the amount of corruption in the country actually played no role. Even the demonstrative detention in the walls of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the People’s Deputy Igor Mosiychuk from the Radical Party with his subsequent dismissal and return to the ranks of deputies, more indicated the inability to fight corruption than the real actions of reforming the public sector and building effective anti-corruption organs.
There have also been positive changes, such as the introduction of the ProZorro system, which has reduced corruption in the procurement field and helped save money from moving closer to market prices. A number of anti-corruption institutions have been set up such as NABU, the SAP, the anti-corruption court. Decentralization and deregulation have also led to a reduction in overall government corruption. All of these aspects have led the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking to climb 38 positions from 112th place in 2014 to 76th place in 2018. Although the state still loses a lot of money in connection with this problem. Therefore, the new government, which has also been campaigning against corruption, needs to start addressing this problem, especially corruption in the upper echelons of power.
The election of the President and Parliament clearly indicated that the people were tired of the old politicians and wanted change. In fact, all the votes cast to the new power are electoral credit to the new political force and the President. For the first time in Ukraine’s history, the so-called mono-coalition emerged when the party gained more seats than needed to make decisions, ie more than 226. In fact, it killed all possible coalition options that analysts or political experts envisioned before the election. One-party power enables the President and the future government to make any decision other than amendments to the Constitution in the Verkhovna Rada. This makes it possible to remove the so-called vote arrangements, thus eradicating corruption by selling decisions and votes. Of course, it is not necessary to idealize, since a large number of MPs passed on single-member constituencies, ie under the majority system. These MPs are potentially victims of possible arrangements by oligarchic structures, and the pressure on them can influence final parliamentary decision-making.
After the parliamentary elections, almost all hands are open for the President to carry out his own reforms, including the fight against corruption. Which is one of the key factors for foreign investment in the country today. According to the IMF, annual corruption losses amount to approximately $ 2 billion, an amount equivalent to, for example, nearly three-year education budgets. Such figures are striking, which is why the fight against corruption is one of the key factors for the new government, the filling of the budget must occur systematically and such outflow of funds weakens not only economic indicators but also the attractiveness of the state at the international level.
To combat corruption, there is a need for clear, consistent and systematic anti-corruption measures. The main challenge and above all the main one is the political will of the new parliamentarians and the President. Because the resistance in this fight is insane, a large number of lobbyists, trustees and representatives of oligarchic structures are lobbying for their own interests, including through the financial component, which in turn leads to corruption in power. It is the political will of the parliamentarians and the President that will be the first aspect to counter the fight against corruption.
The legislative framework is also an important aspect. In Ukraine, one of the best legislative frameworks to combat corruption, there are many structures in the country to fight it. These are NAPC, NABU, SAP, DBR and others. A large number of structures is usually a positive step in the fight against corruption, but quantity does not mean quality. Today, these structures are simply inefficient. In fact, every structure with a small number of employees is a large expense from the budget, which is not paid for by the state. There are many arguments, NABU accuses the SAP, and the NAP accuses NABU, and together they will blame the whole court. The extreme is always in this story. The problem remains open, however. The inefficiency of the structures simply “burns” a large amount of taxpayer funds. It must be agreed that the actual effectiveness of the above structures depends on the court’s decision. Because the court is the instance where the corrupt can win cases. The task of NABU and the SAP is to bring the case to court, but they do not always convince the court. So smoothly flows this aspect into the next.
The third aspect on which the effectiveness of the fight against corruption depends is the courts. A High Anti-Corruption Court has already been set up in Ukraine, which will begin its work in full on September 5, 2019. Judicial reform is an important factor in combating corruption, and the anti-corruption court is one of the results of such innovations. A great deal of thought and controversy goes over the need for another court. Such a court in our time is usually needed, first of all, in order not to delay the very process of hearing the case and sentencing. The very establishment of the court was a lengthy process and delayed by politicians. However, the public expectation from this court is overstated, experts say. The main argument is the imperfection of the articles of the Criminal Code aimed at combating corruption. It is in an impartial court that the defendant’s chances of getting out of the water can even increase than in a biased court. It is difficult to say exactly how effective this structure will be before the court is fully launched, and whether the country will actually await the detention of high-ranking officials – corrupt officials. This remains a matter of time. And quite an important aspect in the fight.
As a whole, the new government will have to show the results of their work as quickly as possible, because people have given them a huge amount of credibility that can easily be lost without even reaching the end of the cadence, a vivid example of past power. Corruption schemes in Ukraine are leaking billions of dollars from the budget, which is a major blow to the entire economy of the state. Of course, this problem also exists in our neighbors, for example, the international organization Transparency International, which conducts an annual poll of experts and compiles the Index of Perception of Corruption, published an annual report where Ukraine took 122 place, scoring 32 points out of 100 possible. Among the neighbors, only Russia got worse, scoring 28 out of 100. The best among the neighbors was Poland, which scored 60 out of 100. These ratings show that the level of corruption in the country is still at a high level, especially against the background of our neighbors, where even Belarus bypasses Ukraine. And we share 122 places with countries such as Mali, Malawi and Liberia. The new government must take the challenge, following the example of our neighbors, to tackle corruption and create a competitive environment for businesses, both citizens and foreigners.
The new government is facing difficult times, as corruption in Ukraine has flourished for a long time and not one day to destroy it, but the President has his own majority in Parliament, and in fact all the levers of influence to take decisive steps to resolve the problem. The mono-coalition gives the opportunity not to enter into negotiations with other parties, which in turn reduces the influence of the “contractors” and the “cutting” of the budget when it is adopted. Because one party will actually solve all the issues. Of course, one-party power is not the solution to all problems, and this scheme can turn into negative consequences, due to the actual absence of real opposition. Real evaluation of this mono-coalition in conjunction with the President and his own government takes time, everyone understands perfectly what kind of credibility they carry, and real action should be indicated as soon as possible. The fight against corruption should be a priority that will help not only replenish the budget, but also bring in new investments and improve the business climate in the country.