Ukraine's parliament sacks corruption-tainted prosecutor

29th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday sacked the former Soviet country's corruption-tainted chief prosecutor over his perceived refusal to investigate corruption and attempts to cover up state graft.

Lawmakers voted by an overwhelming 289 votes to six to accept the resignation of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin from the post he has held since February 2015.

"Hallelujah! Finally!" Ukraine's acting Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius tweeted moments after the vote.

The frustrated but respected Lithuanian-born economy chief had himself in February submitted a letter of resignation in protest over corruption that parliament has not yet approved.

Shokin has been ensnared in a web of scandals that have worried Ukraine's Western allies and left despondent the throngs who spearheaded the country's pro-EU revolution in February 2014.

His numerous critics accused Shokin of failing to probe the alleged theft of state funds by the deposed Russian-backed leadership and of stalling investigations into prosecutors who were fired after being discovered hoarding cash and diamonds in their homes.

He has also purportedly covered up the corrupt dealings of people close to the ruling regime.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked Shokin -- viewed as one of his closer allies -- to resign in the face of mounting pressure during a rowdy February 16 parliament session that saw Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk survive a no-confidence vote.

Shokin submitted his letter of resignation but Yatsenyuk clung on and created a new wave of uncertainty over the political stability of a country that is already suffering from a nearly two-year conflict in the pro-Russian separatist east.

Poroshenko last week again called on Yatsenyuk to finally step down and for parliament to pick his successor during Tuesday's session.

The president's party has nominated parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman to head the future cabinet.

But parliament cannot vote twice on Yatsenyuk's future in the same session and must wait for the prime minister himself to step down before choosing his successor.

Parliament's largest factions were due to consult later on Tuesday about what they intended to do about Yatsenyuk and whether to keep the pro-Western ruling coalition intact.

© 2016 AFP

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