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Ukraine president denies hampering anti-corruption efforts

Ukraine president denies hampering anti-corruption efforts
From Reuters - December 8, 2017

VILNIUS/KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied on Fridayinterfering with the work of law enforcement bodies investigating corruption and he urged such agencies to refrain from playing politics.

Ukrainian authorities this week have faced accusations ofdeliberately sabotaging anti-corruption reforms, which are a key condition for international support for the country as it grapples with a Russian-backed separatist insurgency.

Perceived backsliding by Kiev on its reform commitments, including delays in establishing an independent court to handle corruption cases, has held up billions of dollars in loans under Ukraines $17.5 billion IMF program.

Over the last 2.5 years of activity of the anti-corruption institutions, everybody, including the heads of these institutions, has said there has not been a single instance of interference by the president in their work, Poroshenko said.

We consider it unacceptable when the leaders of any law enforcement bodies, including anti-corruption, begin to play in the political field, he told a news conference during a visit to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

They must be independent, protected from political influence.

Action by Ukraines parliament and prosecutors against existing anti-corruption bodies such as the NABU investigative bureau provoked a wave of criticism this week from reformers and Kievs foreign backers including the IMF.

Poroshenkos faction is the largest in parliament and the president also nominates the general prosecutor.

IMF APPEAL

Corrupt Empire Strikes Back read the headline of the English language newspaper Kyiv Post on Friday.

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