President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have yet to register their assets – along with 14 other cabinet ministers – with the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption, according to officials of the office on Friday.
Sayed Ghulam Hussain Fakhri, theacting Director General of the High Office of Anti-Corruption, has said that the avoiding the registration process is a clear violation of the Afghan Constitution.
On the basis of article 154 of the Afghan Constitution, all top government officials are obligated to register their assets with the anti-corruption office. Yet with more than nine months have passed since the formation of the national unity government and still top officials remained unregistered.
“We sent forms to the president and the chief executive,” said Fakhri, the head of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption. “In the last cabinet meeting, the president instructed top government officials to fill their forms within a week or the span of ten days.”
Meanwhile, civil society activists have cast doubts over the ability of the national unity government to maintain transparency and accountability given the extent of corruption within the central government.
“Whenever the properties aren’t registered, it definitely paves the way for those who serve in various political posts to abuse their officials positions,” Integrity Watch Afghanistan head Sayed Ekram Afzali told TOLOnews. “The main reasons that top government officials don’t show their properties is that they can hide the assets they own and it is difficult for them to disclose the sources of their the money.”
According to the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption, there is very little recourse when it comes to compelling government officials to divulge the details of holdings. “Unfortunately, the current law doesn’t outline a response against government officials who refuse to register their properties or provide wrong data about it,” Fakhri said.
Based on the Afghan Constitution, however, all government officials are obliged to register their properties with the anti-corruption office by the end of every year.