Kiev, Ukraine. As the IMF locks the bank vault up and prepares to shut Ukraine down for a lack of corruption reforms, on the fight goes to keep the status quo in one dirty town, full of the filthy rich.

There is a new flash point in Ukraine’s struggle to break from corruption. Three years after trying to change the system from inside, many now believe that only the IMF and international pressure can reform Ukraine. The single biggest obstacle to growth is the country’s unscrupulous judiciary which legitimizes the capture of the state by a few.

The IMF has specifically recommended that Ukraine establish an Anti-Corruption Court and provide wiretapping powers to the newly organized National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine or NABU. Or face an end to IMF funding.

The Ukrainian Rada or Parliament is corrupt and Poroshenko doesn’t want an anticorruption system because it will hurt his allies who use political power for personal enrichment. He wants to keep this corrupt system through to the next election in 2019 to manipulate the outcome.

Creation of NABU has been a success, resulting in several arrests of high-profile politicians, but no one believes they will be convicted by the current judiciary. Judges in Ukraine can not currently be arrested, even if caught with bribe money in their hand.

NABU just made two of the highest profile arrests in the country’s recent history Roman Nasirov, former head of the Ukrainian IRS and political kingpin Mykola Martynenko and then the circus really started. Nasirov feigned a heart attack to try and avoid arrest, and Martynenko’s bail hearing was attended by major political figures to intimidate the judge, which resulted in his release.

These cases prove the new law-enforcement agency is ready to touch untouchable people in Ukraine. NABU can’t convict a person alone, they can’t confiscate assets alone. They need anticorruption prosecutors, and prosecutors who are eager to cooperate with NABU, but still nothing has been done to get rid of the Judges and their immunity in Ukraine.

Clearly, without an independent specialized corruption court, Ukrainians are like inmates in a jail run by the criminals. Transformation into a democratic, free enterprise system is only possible if the rule of law is established.

This is why other former Soviet satellites and republics immediately gutted their justice systems after the Iron Curtain fell. East Germany and Latvia fired all their judges at once, and others culled and restructured courts and police forces.

Ukraine, on the other hand, did nothing and allowed an elite to carve up the country into financial franchises and to seize control of its politics, media, business, government departments, police, and judiciary. Which is why the country could care less if it’s war in Donbass on it’s own citizens, ever ends; the criminals are making too much money off the war.

Ukraine’s oligarchy plays a game of attrition. Politicians pay lip service to reforms but delay passage of legislation, changes it, then pass it only to gut it, or neutralize it. They publisize changes and enjoy photo ops, but then it’s business as usual: shakedowns, threats, bribes, and worse in the corruption circus Kiev has become.

Ukraine’s failure of the government to stop criminality makes Ukraine a no-go investment destination, said US-Ukraine Business Council President Morgan Williams in an interview, “There is no question the judicial and legal system in Ukraine is for sale.”

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