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Karzai blames foreigners for fuelling graft

Karzai blames foreigners for fuelling graft

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On
Dec 11, 2011 - 19:31

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai, promising a stepped-up campaign against corruption, on Sunday urged foreigners to stop doling out contracts to relatives of senior Afghan government officials.

"One effective way of preventing corruption in Afghanistaninfo-icon is for our foreign friends to stop awarding contracts to government officials and their relatives," the president told a media briefing on International Anti-Corruption Day.

While calling for reforms in the contract system, he said foreigners believed government officials were corrupt for political reasons, and the latter held a similar view about outsiders. He stressed joint efforts to make the anti-graft drive a success.

He alleged interference from foreigners and the existence of parallel structures contributed to the scourge in Afghanistan, ranked the worldinfo-icon's third most corrupt nations by Transparency International.

Foreigners were unwilling to disband private security firms and parallel set-ups, thereby exacerbating the problem, the president maintained, identifying people's lack of confidence in the government and inadequate job security as other factors behind graft.

In the past, he recalled, government servants' salaries were meagre but they felt secure in their jobs. To address the issue, he proposed reforms in areas of salary structure, promotions and appointments.

He also underlined the need for eradicating the culture of impunity, saying corruption-tainted Afghan officials with dual nationality often fled abroad. "Such powerful individuals often get away with their misdeeds by going to their sanctuaries in the US, the UK and other countries."

He referred to one instance involving Abdul Qadir Fitrat, former governor of Da Afghanistan Bank. "When he realised his involvement in the Kabul Bank scandal was coming to the limelight, Fitrat fled to the US. Now the US administration should cooperate with us in bringing him to justice."

In recent years, many people were appointed to government positions and their salaries fixed based on their foreign citizenship, not on merit: "Those who came from Iran and Pakistaninfo-icon are being paid $500 (24,260 afghanis) and those from Europe and the US $5,000 to $6,000. But those living in Afghanistan are being paid 3,000 afs."

frm/mud

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