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Feature: Factors Behind the Govt Failure to Fight Corruption

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its latest report that the Afghan government’s efforts to combat corruption could not have a positive impact on the lives of many Afghans. The United Nations has stressed that sustainable and effective efforts to combat corruption in Afghanistan are essential for the country’s future. The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Dibra Laines, said that efforts to combat corruption, despite the serious challenges and opportunities for peace, should be a key priority for the Afghan government. “Fighting the crisis of COVID-19 and building a peaceful, healthy and prosperous Afghanistan requires transparency and accountability that are fundamental principles for the future of any nation,” she added.
In the most recent case, however, the Afghan government released a list of employees of the Ministry of Finance who were banned from leaving the country due to their involvement in corruption. Although the Attorney General said that so far no official letter had been sent to the department regarding the ban on the departure of these individuals (nearly 70), the government pretended that this was a major step in the fight against corruption. In fact, the ban on leaving a significant number of employees of the Ministry of Finance can be considered the first visible action of the government after the escalation of the election controversy.
Now, with the publication of the UNAMA report on the performance of the Afghan government in the fight against corruption, we can say with confidence that the purpose of publishing the list of employees banned from leaving the country was the government’s pre-emptive response to the UNAMA report. The government was aware of the report, which was to be published by UNAMA, and a list of employees of the Ministry of Finance was published to prevent criticism of the government.
In fact, the government wants to show that it is fighting corruption, but effective fight against corruption requires measures that the government has never carried out, and doing so requires determined efforts that must be kept away from everyday political issues.
Regarding the ban on the departure of a number of employees of the Ministry of Finance, it has been stated that these are low-ranking officials (with the exception of a few) who have not been involved in major corruptions. Criticism of the government in this regard is that the head of the Ministry of Finance (Homayoun Qayyumi), who was accused of major corruption in the ministry, was not prosecuted, although he was introduced to the prosecutor’s office by the Finance Committee. This criticism is in fact a repetitive critique of the government’s performance in the fight against corruption. The high-officials’ corruption is exempt and the small culprits are prosecuted. Overall, this view of government performance has become widespread among the public, due in part to the government’s behavior and performance. In other words, the government has lost its credibility and needs to do a lot to restore trust.
One of the reasons for the inefficiency of the government’s fight against corruption is that it deals with corrupt people politically, and selectively. This tactic does not help in eradicating corruption from the country at all, because it lets the major contributors of the menace do their filthy business.
On the other hand, the lack of an accurate and efficient anti-corruption system, as well as that of precise mechanisms to combat corruption at all levels in government agencies, have further led to the failure of the fight against corruption. Most the people do not know where to go and what to do in case they face instances of corruption. While, the ruling elite has kept the system weaker so that they can use their influence to target those whom they want, while promote their favorites. They have also been using corruption as a pretext to carryout ethnic discrimination.
One of the major side effects of advancing the ethnic and political discrimination in government agencies on the pretext of fight against corruption is that it demotivates the capable officials, while encourages the officials who are under qualified and tend to gain favors through praise and sycophancy.
In other words, the process of fighting corruption in Afghanistan is influenced by two main factors. First is a political factor: lack of real will to fight corruption at the government leadership level. The second factor is technical: lack of accurate monitoring systems in offices.
What is called the over-concentration of power and the monopoly of office competencies in the Arg (The Presidential Palace) is the intersection of the two factors that are mutually exclusive. The lack of precise oversight systems in the fight against corruption and the failure to use sensible and useful methods in this regard, in fact, depends on the lack of political will at the leadership level, and vice versa can be true. In other words, the lack of precise and reasonable anti-corruption systems and methods has led to the fight against corruption being attributed more to the decisions and actions of the government leadership. Since the Arg does not have a pre-developed strategy and plan in this regard, it is possible to resort to favoritism and non-standard measures in this regard, which may sometimes be effective and sometimes inefficient.
If the leadership of the government has a real will to eradicate corruption, it should work on creating mechanisms, systems and useful methods to fight corruption. These must be created in such a way that they are able to prosecute the corrupt to the highest levels of government. Whenever such systems are created, the responsibility of the government leadership in the fight against corruption can be fulfilled.
(Sahar News)

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