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IMF 'concerned' by Kiev's plan for anti-corruption court

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Kiev (AFP)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a letter published by Ukrainian media on Monday criticised a draft law paving the way for a new anti-corruption court, demanded by Kiev's Western allies.

The letter dated January 11th, signed by IMF mission chief for Ukraine Ron van Rooden and addressed to the head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, says the Fund "has serious concerns" about the bill.

"Several provisions are not consistent with the authorities' commitments under Ukraine's IMF-supported program and the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe," Rooden said in the letter published by Yevropeiska Pravda newspaper.

The Venice Commission is a group of constitutional law experts whose rulings member states commit to respect.

The Ukraine newspaper did not say how it acquired the letter.

Earlier the IMF said the establishment of the new judiciary body, named the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC), would be a "benchmark" of Ukraine's progress toward Western standards.

The IMF named nine areas of concern.

It said an international expert body should have the final say on selection of judges -- rather than an advisory role as in the draft law -- to ensure candidates have "an impeccable reputation and integrity."

Both international organisations and donors should be able to recommend such international experts, in line with the Venice Commission recommendations, the document says.

The IMF insists that the HACC should work in coordination with the newly founded National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) and focus "solely on corruption-related cases".

"In its current form, however, we would not be able to support the draft law of the HACC," Rooden concluded in the letter.

The IMF has made no official comment on the matter.

The recent creation of the anti-corruption office NABU and its partner agency SAPO have prompted strong resistance from other state structures, including the courts.

Ukraine was ranked 131st out of 176 countries in Transparency International's corruption perception index in 2016.

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