KYIV – The Ukrainian parliament has voted to restore the powers of the National Anti-Corruption Agency (NAZK) as Kyiv is seeking to secure new loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight a sharp economic slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
NAZK’s chief Oleksandr Novikov hailed the December 15 vote at the Verkhovna Rada, saying it would allow the agency to “tackle corruption.”
“NAZK resumes all it operations in all major directions now,” Novikov added.
In October, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court struck down some anti-corruption legislation and curbed the powers of the NAZK, sparking tensions between President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the opposition, and members of the court.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said the European Union, the United States, and several other nations were following developments surrounding the Constitutional Court’s ruling with “growing concern.”
The Verkhovna Rada’s move comes amid international concerns over Kyiv’s slow progress on reforms and anti-corruption efforts that have hobbled the implementation of a $5 billion program agreed in June with the IMF.
Ukraine’s economy is expected to contract by 5 percent this year, dragged into recession by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU delegation to Kyiv has warned that its financial assistance was tied to Ukraine’s performance on corruption.