How to at­tract in­vest­ment in Ukraine

Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly - - Contents - All of our con­tacts are avail­able on­line at http://www.kyivpost.com/con­tacts/

By the time then-u.s. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den got up on July 13, 2015, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and said Ukraine has “got to put peo­ple in jail,” Ukraini­ans and their friends abroad were al­ready frus­trated by the will­ful lack of progress in the cor­rup­tion fight. It’s only got­ten worse. More than two years af­ter Bi­den spoke, Ukraine hasn't con­victed any­body of con­se­quence for cor­rup­tion. The courts, pros­e­cu­tors and po­lice re­main un­re­formed, in­ef­fec­tive, dis­trusted and tools of politi­cians and oli­garchs. New anti-cor­rup­tion in­sti­tu­tions are use­less with­out func­tion­ing courts.

Here’s what Fi­nance Min­is­ter Olek­sandr Danyliuk re­cently had to say: “Law en­force­ment stayed in the 20th cen­tury while the coun­try is in the 21st cen­tury. If our court sys­tem is not ready, gen­eral sys­tem, to deal with cor­rup­tion charges, then we need to, in the very short time, set up the anti-cor­rup­tion court, to deal with such of­fenses. Then peo­ple will see that the fight with cor­rup­tion is se­ri­ous.” Back to Bi­den at the U.s.-ukraine Busi­ness Fo­rum: “Cor­rup­tion siphons away re­sources. It weak­ens eco­nomic growth. It de­stroys trust in govern­ment. It hol­lows out mil­i­taries. And it’s an af­front to the dig­nity of the peo­ple of Ukraine.”

For Ukraine to at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, cre­ate good jobs and re­verse an ex­o­dus of mil­lions of Ukraini­ans, the na­tion must es­tab­lish rule of law, end im­punity and cre­ate trust­wor­thy in­sti­tu­tions.. Ukraine’s econ­omy and pol­i­tics are still dom­i­nated by oli­garchs and klep­to­crats. Top lead­ers — Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Yuriy Lut­senko and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov — are im­i­tat­ing the fight against cor­rup­tion while ob­struct­ing mean­ing­ful change, such as block­ing the cre­ation of in­de­pen­dent anti-cor­rup­tion courts. Many of the “new” Supreme Court jus­tices to be seated soon look very much like the dis­cred­ited “old” ones.

When Ukraine’s lead­ers get se­ri­ous about fighting cor­rup­tion, in­vest­ment will come.

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