SIGAR Blasts Afghan Watchdog Over Asset Registration

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In a new report, the U.S Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has blasted the Afghan High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOOAC) over its omissions to register the assets of former president Hamid Karzai and his second VP Mohammad Karim Khalili properly.‎

The latest SIGAR report said the asset declaration forms submitted by Karzai and senior members of his government had omissions and errors.

“Under personal effects, the president listed jewels but again provided no purchase date, no current value, and no source of income to purchase the asset,” SIGAR added.

SIGAR stated that Karzai improperly listed cash in a German bank and a list of jewels, the US watchdog said as it slammed the Afghan anti-corruption body formed in 2008 for being ineffective and lacking independence.

The report further added Karzai submitted his asset declaration form in September 2015, he listed cash in a German bank account but did not give an account number and left the source-of-money field blank.‎

The latest report by SIGAR comes as the Afghan government has been struggling to root out corruption in a bid to ensure the flow of international aid for the reconstruction of the country.

The Transparency International watchdog group ranked Afghanistan 166th out of 168 nations in its annual corruption index this year.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said dueing a recent speech “we promised that we would end the corruption that violates our deepest spiritual values and pollutes the soul of our nation,” Ghani said, adding that “there will be howls of protest and pain as the noose against corruption grows ever tighter.”

SIGAR said that in 2015 Karzai declared his assets and cash in a German bank, but the oversight body has not mentioned the exact amount of money owned by him.

“They declared their account numbers as well, if I consult my office, I can give you the number of Hamid Karzai’s account,” said Ghulam Hussain Fakhri, head of the oversight office.

SIGAR also reveals that Karzai’s VP Mohammad Karim Khalili announced that he had not had any money when he left the office but owned a house and four pieces of land, but he did not mention the value of his assets.

“At least the high office of oversight and anti-corruption should have put the names of those who declared their assets on its website, but when the people come and asses the things, they see that the high office of oversight and anti-corruption move in the negative direction,” said Khan Zaman Amarkhail, head of Afghan anti-corruption network.

The oversight body meanwhile insists that it has dispatched nearly 400 cases of corruption to the Attorney General of Afghanistan (AGO) including the cases of some high ranking government officials and minsters.

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