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Afghanistan must refocus efforts to fight against corruption to safeguard US$12 billion in new aid

A new report from Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, shows that the pace of implementing anti-corruption reforms by the National Unity Government (NUG) in Afghanistan must be speeded up to safeguard aid from the international community and help improve the lives of long-suffering Afghans.

The international community is meeting on 5 October to sign a new four-year US$12 billion aid package for Afghanistan. On 28 September the NUG announced a new anti-corruption law. It is estimated as much as US$1 billion out of every US$8 billion in aid is lost to corruption.

“Corruption continues to fuel the ongoing war in Afghanistan and undermines the effectiveness of billions of dollars of international aid. Promises to reform must be backed up with actions. The new draft anti-corruption law is welcome on paper but unless it is passed by the parliament and implemented immediately nothing will change for the millions of Afghans who suffer the consequences of corruption,” said Srirak Plipat, Regional Director for Asia Pacific at Transparency International.

Since 2014, the NUG has made over 50 commitments to address corruption. Transparency International with civil society experts, representatives from international governments and the Afghan government identified the 22 deemed most crucial to tackling corruption in Afghanistan.

Of the 22 commitments only two have been fully implemented.

One bright spot is the government’s newly-established National Procurement Agency which has saved more than US$200 million that might have been lost to corruption. Another is the new Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC), which aims to investigate and prosecute grand corruption.

The new report makes the following recommendations:

Judicial Reform: The government must introduce merit-based appointments of judges by an independent judicial services commission, focus on training qualified prosecutors and speed up prosecutions.

The new Anti-Corruption Justice Centre has dealt with fewer than 20 cases at a time when hundreds of corrupt acts take place daily. The attorney general’s office lacks qualified and professional prosecutors and is subject to political interference.

Anti-corruption agency: The NUG must establish an independent and well-resourced anti-corruption agency that is based on the United Nations Convention against Corruption framework and involves civil society.

Mandated asset declarations: All senior civil servants, politicians, and senior staff in the executive, legislative and judicial sectors must publish asset declarations. These declarations need to be verified and monitored to ensure that no one is using their positions of power for personal enrichment.

Civil Society and access to information: The NUG must recognise the important oversight role that civil society plays in monitoring anti-corruption. Transparency International recommends:

  • The NUG signs the Open Government Partnership
  • Implements the 2014 Access to Information Law
  • Includes representatives from civil society and the Afghan parliament as participants or observers in the newly established High Council for Governance, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption

Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

Note to editors: The report lists in detail the 22 anti-corruption commitments. These cover seven sectors: judiciary, civil service, procurement, civil society, business, extractive industries and donors. Find and download the full report here.


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Natalie Baharav
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Alex Johnson
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E: ajohnson@transparency.org