Official Defends NUG's Anti-Graft Drive as Key Summit Looms

brussels-29-16

Mia Gul Wasiq, director of the public relations and communication department in the Presidential Palace Monday defended government’s anti-graft strategy, saying major corruption cases have been investigated under the present government.

Wasiq claimed that government has been putting systematic reforms in place in the fuel contracts process at security institutions and that it has also carried out an extended investigation into the Kabul Bank embezzlement case.

In reference to government’s anti-corruption drive, Wasiq said that major corruption cases have been tackled under the National Unity Government (NUG) including the reopening of the Kabul Bank corruption case and corruption regarding fuel contracts in security institutions.

He said that government will attend the Brussels Summit on Afghanistan in October having made tangible gains, something analysts seem to be skeptical about.

These remarks come amid growing skepticism among political and economic commentators over what they believe has been a failed attempt by the present system to address the issue of corruption and recuperate stolen money from Kabul Bank.

“The Kabul Bank (case) is an important achievement by the national unity government. Because it managed to finalize all issues related to Kabul Bank. The court as well as the attorney general have finalized certain issues and data related to debtors,” said Abdul Wahid Khurasani, chairman of the Kabul Bank Clearance Department.

According to Khurasani, the Afghan government has recuperated nearly $446 million USD of the $987 million USD stolen from the bank.

“Despite the fact that there is war … the government will attend the Brussels Summit having made major gains,” said Wasiq.

The statement comes amid constant criticisms against government’s anti-graft policies by analysts with some saying that government has done nothing to combat corruption in the country and recuperate stolen money from criminals, especially regarding the Kabul Bank case.

“Government has done nothing and it expanded corruption. The nature of big contracts has not changed, but it has been transferred to another source. Corruption has not been eradicated, but it has transferred from one corruption (sector) to another, government itself is involved in corruption,” political commentator Sediq Patman said.

“Investment would increase if government had seriously combated corruption and investors would not leave Afghanistan. There has been a shortfall in investments and no effective work was done in this respect,” said Khan Zaman Amarkhail, head of the Anti-Corruption Network.

War against corruption remains an important priority of the national unity government under President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah. After the formation of the NUG the two officials pledged to fight corruption at any level.

After assuming office, Ghani ordered the reopening of the Kabul Bank corruption case and investigations were also launched into some other major corruption scandals including corruption in the fuel contracts of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the embezzlement case by at least six top officials at the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs and Housing.

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