Senate rejects dissolution of anti-graft body
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirga on Sunday rejected the lower house’s decision seeking dissolution of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOOAC), a government panel tasked with unearthing graft.
The Wolesi Jirga had decided to dissolve the anti-graft body, sending the proposal to the Senate for approval. Some lower house members were of the view that there was no need for HOOAC in the presence of detective, judicial and justice departments.
Muhiuddin Munsif, who heads the Senate legislative commission, said the lower house had approved the dissolution of the anti-graft body but the body should continue its job keeping in view the country’s prevailing situation.
He argued Afghanistan was required by the international community to have an anti-graft body after having signed international conventions and treaties on corruption.
Under article 7 of the Constitution, the state shall abide by the UN charter, international treaties, international conventions that Afghanistan has signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the article 75 says maintenance of public law and order and elimination of administrative corruption are duties of the government.
Musnif said if they dissolved the anti-graft body, what they would decide the fate of its 550 employees. “We should think about this,” he said.
A number of senators supported Munsif’s views. They said elements involved in corruption wanted the anti-graft body to be dissolved. But some other lawmakers spoke in opposition to them.
Lawmaker from central Daikundi province, Najiba Hussaini, said the HOOAC had done nothing remarkable since its inception 10 years back. She believed increase in the number of departments meant more corruption.
“We are also concerned about the fate of HOOAC employees but talented workers can be adjusted in other departments,” she said.
Her colleague from Badakhshan province Bashir Samim held similar views. He said the HOOAC had been able to expose a handful of corrupt government officials and had done nothing considerable. He suggested the HOOAC should be merged into the Attorney General’s Office.
But Munsif said the parliament should have dissolved the anti-graft body years ago if it was not required instead of approving budget for it over the past one decade.
“This body has done considerable job. It has exposed many ministers and departmental heads who were involved in corruption,” Munsif said, adding the anti-graft body was cooperative with other government departments not running in parallel.
After a prolonged debate, 29 lawmakers of the 52 present voted against the HOOAC’s dissolution. Senate chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said joint delegation of both houses of the parliament would soon sit together to resolve their differences over the issue.
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