Massoud sees politicised civil service behind graft
KABUL (Pajhwok): The president’s special representative for reforms and good governance on Thursday claimed some politicians who held high positions in the previous government had stolen millions of dollars.
Speaking at a conference in Kabul, Ahmad Zia Massoud said corruption was an awful phenomenon that hindered efforts at social and economic development in Afghanistan.
The conference titled “The route of anti-corruption campaign in Afghanistan” was organised by the European Union.
Massoud said since 2001 the international community had been assisting Afghanistan to have a stable government, but widespread administrative graft had slowed down the development process.
The bulk of foreign aid, he continued, should have been spent on welfare projects in Afghanistan, but it went to pockets of civil servants.
Massoud said some political personalities, who held high government positions in the previous government, had stolen millions of dollars given in aid to the Afghan people during the past 13 years.
He said people wanted the aid and resources to be spent on reconstruction projects and services, not to be embezzled by high officials and civil servants.
One of the major reasons for corruption in Afghanistan, according to Massoud, was offering top government posts to political parties in the past. The trend, he regretted, continued with the current administration as well.
The presidential special envoy said cabinet ministers and all government employees should be professional individuals, claiming attempts had been made to politicise deputy ministers’ posts.
He said currently many groups were trying to get their own people appointed to government jobs, urging the unity government to prevent the civil service from being politicised.
European Union ambassador to Afghanistan, Franz-Michael Mellbin, said corrupt officials still enjoyed impunity from prosecution in Afghanistan. He said though the new government had reopened some graft-related cases, but more was needed to be done.
“The problem of administrative graft cannot be resolved by sending tens of thousands of people to prisons. This is not a solution. The system needs to be changed.”
He said there was need for a system which denied any opportunity for individuals to commit corruption.
He added corruption in Afghanistan needed an Afghan-owned solution and the international community was a strong supporter of the Afghan government.
He warned if the government did not take serious steps to banish the menace of corruption, they would rethink about their cooperation with Afghanistan.
Justice Minister Abdul Basir Anwar called unbalanced salaries as another reason behind corruption in the country, insisting the unity government had strong will to fight the menace.
Economy Minister Sattar Murad said despite billions of dollars Afghanistan had received so far in foreign aid, 36 percent of Afghans continued to live under the poverty line.
He said some officials in the previous administration now owned wealth worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the source of such wealth could easily be identified with a strong will.
Basir Ahmad Durrani, Rural Rehabilitation and Development Minister, said honest ministers could reduce corruption in their ministries, but corrupt ministers would take the anti-corruption campaign nowhere.
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