Ukraine's opposition leader and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has registered in the country's parliament a bill amending the criminal code with the aim to return criminal responsibility for illicit enrichment of the nation's officials.
The bill was registered less than 24 hours since Ukrainian Constitutional Court has cancelled criminal responsibility for illicit enrichment of the country's officials. The court believes that criminal responsibility for such wrongdoing violates the presumption of innocence. The decision was reportedly made during a closed hearing.
The move has triggered worries in Kyiv about the country's further cooperation with the Imternational Monetary Fund (IMF). The parliament passed the law on criminal responsibility for illicit enrichment of the nation's officials in 2015 as one of the conditions for Ukraine to receive a visa-free regime with the European Union (EU) and to continue its cooperation with the multinational lender.
According to the country's main anti-graft body, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the Constitutional Court's move will lead to the closure of all criminal proceedings under this article, and it will be impossible to resume relevant investigations in future.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has also signed a draft law on criminal responsibility for illegal enrichment and ordered to register the document in the Verkhovna Rada as an urgent docement.
"This morning I've signed and now order to register the presidential bill, which takes into account the remarks, but the position of inevitability of criminal punishment for illegal enrichment remains fundamental," Interfa news agency quoted Poroshenko as saying on February 28 at a meeting of the regional development council of Kirovohrad region in Kropyvnytsky.