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Ukraine signs international agreement to fight corruption

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of UkraineThe government of Ukraine signed an anti-corruption initiative Monday with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to establish a Business Ombudsman Institution.

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative was co-signed by the EBRD, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, the European Business Association, and Ukrainian organizations.

The Business Ombudsman’s scope is to:

  • Receive, examine and facilitate the complaints by business of unfair treatment including corruption, and
  • Ascertain the systemic causes of the unfair treatment of business and corruption, and share its findings with the public and the appropriate public authorities.

The MOU is available in pdf here.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Kiev, the President of the EBRD, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said the Anti-Corruption Initiative is an “integral part of better governance, more effective institutions and an improved investment climate. All of these are fundamental to Ukraine achieving its economic potential,” he said.

Sir Suma also paid tribute to the efforts of all of the signatory parties and singled out the work and expertise of the Basel Institute on Governance and its president, Professor Mark Pieth.

“The situation in Ukraine is very difficult and the precarious security situation could deteriorate, Pieth said. “But that is not a reason to prevaricate — Ukraine desperately needs foreign investment and it will be receiving a lot of money in the coming months from international institutions, so we need to ensure that it does not end up in the wrong hands.”

The signatories of the MOU will oversee the new Business Ombudsman Institution and ensure its proper funding.

The Basel Institute on Governance was closely involved in the development of the MOU, which was first proposed to the previous government by the EBRD. It is intended to address the many challenges foreign and domestic businesses in Ukraine face that are deterring investment in the country. 

At the end of 2013, these efforts were interrupted by the events that brought down the regime of former Ukraine President Victor Yanukovich.

The initiative was restarted by the new government, which is determined to make progress tackling corruption, despite pressing security issues.

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Gemma Aiolfi is the Head of Corporate Governance, Compliance, & Collective Action at the Basel Institute on Governance. She can be contacted here.

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