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Effective strategy in place to combat graft: Presidential aide

Effective strategy in place to combat graft: Presidential aide

Jan 28, 2016 - 10:22

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The government has made significant progress in combating the scourge of corruption, particularly in procurement contracts, the president’s deputy spokesman claimed on Thursday.

A day earlier, the Transparency International (TI) ranked Afghanistaninfo-icon as the third most corrupt country in the worldinfo-icon in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015.

Millions of dollars that should have been spent on Afghanistan’s reconstructioninfo-icon had been wasted or stolen, seriously undermining efforts to restore peace, the organisation lamented.

But the government took issue with allegation, rejecting as groundless the claim that there was no effective plan to deal with the graft. The assessment, it said, was based on lack of proper research on the part of Transparency International.

Asked for comments on the TI report, President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Syed Zafar Hashemi told Pajhwok Afghan News the government was trying to remove institutional weaknesses that facilitated major corruption.

“Under this plan, a national procurement system has been put in place. The president, CEO and other high-level officials take part in reviews. Almost 90% of contracts fail to meet legal requirements but they were corrected,” he said.

The last meeting in this regard noted a significant improvement in careful preparation of contracts by different ministries in compliance with relevant laws and the principle of transparency.

For the first time ever, major Ministry of Defence (MoD) oil contracts had been published in an attempt at ensuring transparency, the official explained.

The judiciary -- a major source of corruption in the past -- had embarked on reforms, he continued. In the past two months. 130 judges have been removed and new ones appointed.

Accountability and ending the culture of impunity are the second component of the anti-graft strategy, according to Hashemi, who said the government had reopened the Kabul Bank case and was determined to recover the stolen funds.

At least 10 officials, including prosecutors involved in corruption, have been arrested in recent months. The presidential aidesaid the detainee were being tried.

He called corruption a global issue that could be tackled effectively only if government, civil societyinfo-icon and citizens acted together. “In Afghanistan, the government has taken important steps in the past one year to deal with corruption.”

However, he regretted that many citizens were still aiding corrupt officials, with civil society and private sector turning a blind eye to the TI index.



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