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Kyiv, 6 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Ukrainian parliament today passed a bill aimed at reforming the country's customs service and curbing corruption.

The legislation makes chiefs of customs checkpoints partially responsible for the criminal activities of their subordinates, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. It also makes it illegal for a customs officer to perform his or her job at a location of his choice.

The regulation is aimed at preventing import-export businesses from developing financial relationships with individual Ukrainian customs officers, and then exploiting such relationships to avoid paying duties on goods.

President Viktor Yushchenko campaigned last year on a platform of reforms that included cracking down on the rampant corruption that afflicted Ukraine under Leonid Kuchma's administration.

Meanwhile, President Yushchenko held crisis talks today with senior government officials after his chief-of-staff, Oleksandr Zinchenko, resigned on 3 September before accusing the current government of corruption, RFE/RL reported.

Yushchenko has canceled a visit to Poland, where he was scheduled to take part in an economic forum later this week.

(with addition reporting by dpa)

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