May 19, 2016
The international corruption watchdog group Global Witness has publicly praised the Afghan government’s determination to end corruption and applauded new actions the government pledged to take at the recent Anti- Corruption Summit in London.
Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib attended the London summit as part of the Afghan delegation led by President Ghani.
In a statement issued May 13, Stephen Carter, the head of Global Witness Afghanistan, said, “This announcement marks a real step forward in the battle against corruption and abuses that have generated major support and funding for armed groups, deprived the Afghan state of much needed revenue and deeply undermined efforts to develop one of the poorest countries in the world.”
He added, “We warmly congratulate the Afghan government on its commitment, and call on its international partners to support it in turning that commitment into reality.”
The Afghan government announced new steps that include:
· The creation of a public register of beneficial ownership for Afghan companies, to help prevent abusive hidden ownership of companies and contracts
· Phased implementation of the Open Contracting data standard, strengthening transparency in government contracts
· Enhanced disclosure of payments to governments for the sale of oil, gas and minerals, increasing transparency in a critical sector which is a significant contributor to conflict.
Carter noted that Global Witness hopes “to see further reforms building on this foundation,” but said, “President Ghani’s commitment today is clear evidence of a real will to act.”
Ending corruption has been a national priority for the Afghan National Unity Government since it took office 18 months ago. As part of its “Realizing Self-Reliance” roadmap of reforms, anti-corruption measures implemented to date have already brought about significant positive developments, including:
Across-the-board measures to eradicate corruption across government increased revenue by 22 percent in 2015;
Fully one-quarter of all officers in the Customs Department – a hotbed of corruption – have been fired;
Transparency and oversight of procurement contracts has saved hundreds of millions so far that would have been lost to corruption, and dozens of companies have been blacklisted from future bidding;
More than 100 generals have been retired as part of sweeping anti-corruption reforms in the Ministry of Defense and tens of billions of Afghanis have been saved by the cancellation of corrupt contracts;
A new Attorney General and chief justice of the Supreme Court have been appointed with a mandate to enforce a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption and more than 600 judges deemed unable or unwilling to uphold this new policy have been replaced;
Two key culprits in the Kabul Bank scandal have been jailed and $250 million of stolen funds have been recovered so far;
A new national Citizens’ Charter empowers local councils to hold government officials accountable for failures of service delivery or incidents of corruption.
A more detailed list of Afghanistan’s commitments can be seen here.