Billions of dollars lost to illicit financial flows: IWA
KABUL (Pajhwok): Illicit financial flows have affected the country’s stability, security and economic development, paving the ground for terrorist activities, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) said in a report on Thursday.
The report titled “Curbing Illicit Financial Flows in Afghanistan” claimed 67 percent of financial processes in the country were illegal, facilitating money-laundering, tax evasion and corruption, particularly bribery.
Corruption, which influenced all layers of the government, was cited as one of the major causes of illicit financial flows, and the hawala system as a key factor aiding money-laundering and fuelling terrorist activities.
Hawala dealers and money service companies were not registered with the government, the report said.
IWA Director Syed Akram Afzali told a news conference illicit financial flows fuelled corruption besides seriously damaging stability, security and economic development of the country and paving the ground for terrorist activities.
He said Afghanistan lost billions of dollars during the process each year. The exact amount of the money thus lost could not be estimated because of hidden deals, he added.
Afzali explained around $4.5 billion was taken out of Afghanistan only through the Kabul International Airport in 2011 and $70 billion was collected from illegal extraction of mines in 2014.
In addition to $113 billion US support, hundreds of billions of dollars had been spent in Afghanistan, but no tangible development could be seen, he claimed. Much of the money went back to foreign countries.
The international community knew where and by whom the money was taken out, he said, asking for exposing the Afghan politicians involved in the illegal withdrawal of money.
Afzali continued: “The Afghan government has failed to curb the illicit financial flows. If it wants to stabilise the country’s economy, then it should decisively deal with the phenomenon.”
However, President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman Dawa Khan Minapal said the Ministry of Finance and Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) were working together on a plan to prevent capital flight from the country.
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