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Russian invasion has weakened corruption in Ukraine, anti-corruption agency official says

The Russian invasion has reduced corruption in Ukraine, Oleksandr Novikov, head of the National Corruption Prevention Agency (ANPC), said in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP). “During the first months of the war, we saw that corruption had practically disappeared”but past the first shock of the conflict, “some have returned to old practices”regrets this ex-prosecutor.

The Ukrainian authorities raided Wednesday the home of billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky – for an embezzlement case involving oil companies –, that of a former interior minister and the Ukrainian tax authorities, while the team of the customs department was sacked.

The question of corruption is all the more sensitive in Ukraine as a Ukrainian-European summit is being held this Friday in kyiv where the country’s candidacy for the European Union should be discussed. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised Kyiv’s efforts in this area on Thursday.

“The level of corruption has dropped significantly in recent years”, underlines Mr. Novikov, citing a survey financed by the United States Agency for Development (USAID) and carried out in the summer of 2022, according to which 29% of Ukrainians find that the level of corruption is decreasing, compared to 4% the last year. However, all is not rosy in this country, ranked 116e place out of 180 according to the corruption perception index in 2022 established by the NGO Transparency International.

According to Novikov, Ukraine’s financial losses related to corruption were estimated at 7 billion euros per year in 2020. “Most of these losses were related to the tax and customs sectors. Since then, no significant changes have taken place., regrets the manager. On the other hand, his agency “found no major violations in the use of Western aid”. If violations concerning humanitarian assistance have been discovered, they have not been “significant or systemic”assures Mr. Novikov.