‘Corruption reaches new high in Afghan govt’s financial institutions’

Kabul, Aug 8 : Corruption has reached new highs in the Afghan governments financial institutions, despite pledges to fight it, according to watchdogs.

On Friday, officials from the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that the government has failed in its anti-graft strategy, reports TOLO News.

They said that in recent years the allegations of corruption against high level government officials have increased despite President Ashraf Ghani’s pledge to not tolerate the plundering of the country’s assets and revenues.

“Extortion and the involvement of strongmen have increased, the government does not bother to confront them, the most dangerous thing is that sometimes there has been the involvement of high level officials, even at the level of minister,” said Khan Jan Alokizay, the head of ACCI.

“In the area of implementing the law, the Anti-Corruption Criminal Justice Center has failed to apply its commitments to combat corruption,” said Maiwand Rouhani, the head of the secretariat of the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC).

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Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has said that despite the government’s numerous commitments to the international community to combat corruption, no practical action has been taken to fight the trend.

“The commitments which were made by the Afghan government towards combating corruption in the Brussels Conference–they remained limited only to changing the procedures and laws. Until now, no significant change has occurred in curbing corruption, rule of law or in improving the lives of the people,” said Naser Taimoori, a researcher at the IWA.

Also, a number of lawmakers in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (the lower house of parliament) have said that the government has failed to comply with its commitments to fighting corruption.

“The ratio of graft is on the rise, if you want to act practically against corruption, then you have to tackle it at a higher level,” TOLO News quoted MP Mohammad Azim Kibrzani as saying.

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This comes a week after delegates at the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) also called on the Afghan government to take serious measures against corruption.

But, the government said that it has completed 80 per cent of its commitments to fighting graft.

At the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in 2016, the Afghan government pledged to the international community to take solid action against corruption to ensure the flow of international aid to Afghanistan for another four years.

Last month, The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) said that the Office of the Attorney General (AGO) has failed to take legal action against high-ranking government officials, particularly former cabinet ministers, for their involvement in corruption.

–IANS
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