Karzai chairs anti-corruption meeting
The first regular meeting, chaired by President Karzai with key institutions to discuss and decide on specific anti-corruption measures, was held on January 14th, 2009. Read the press release from the Presidential Palace below.
The first regular meeting, chaired by President Karzai with key institutions to discuss and decide on specific anti-corruption measures, was held today, Wednesday 14 January 2009 at the Presidential Palace. The meeting was attended by the 2nd Vice President, the Chief Justice, Ministers of Interior and Justice, Attorney General, National Security Advisor, Director General of the Office of Administrative Affairs and Cabinet Secretariat, General Director of National Security, Chairman of Administrative Reform and the Civil Service Commission, Director General of Department for Local Governance, General Director and Deputy General Director of the High Office of Oversight & Anti-Corruption.
Summary of Key Decisions of the High Level Anti-Corruption Meeting
§ Prioritization of anti-corruption measures for the next few months was discussed. It was decided to give priority to the following issues, which must also include addressing tangible corruption cases and informing the public about them. Other priority actions include asset registration of public officials, addressing illegal extortions by the police, customs department, municipalities and other service delivery entities, simplification of procedures, establishment of an effective complaints mechanism, and tackling corruption in the police, attorney-generals office and the courts, and anti-corruption plans by the government institutions.
§ The High Office Oversight presented its plan for the asset registration of public officials. The High Office of Oversight was instructed to start implementing the new process for asset registration which must include an accountability mechanism in case of illegal enrichment and inquiring the sources of their riches.
§ The legal framework for the fight against corruption is defined by the Afghan constitution, UN Convention against Corruption, and the law on overseeing the implementation of anti-corruption strategy. But many stipulations of these laws (illegal acts such as nepotism, refusal to declare assets, etc) have no punitive basis. The Ministry of Justice was tasked to review the penal code and other by-laws urgently in consultation with relevant agencies and the High Office of Oversight and define punishment for those corrupt practices.
§ Eight government institutions (Supreme Court, Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Public Health, Office of the Attorney General, Office of Administrative Affairs, Civil Service Commission, and Audit & Control Office) have started acting on the recommendations of the anti-corruption strategy. The President praised these institutions and seriously notified those who have failed to act so far and instructed them to assure the High Office Oversight of their measures in two weeks time. Accordingly, all government institutions were instructed to identify the sources of corruption in their respective offices and come up with an action plan to curb corruption in their institutions in the light of the Anti-corruption strategy. The High Office of Oversight shall monitor their progress and report to the President accordingly.
§ Illegal extortion is a serious problem, causing resent and diverting public funds. Illegal extortions exist in the police, departments in the finance ministry, traffic department, customs, courts, in the office of the attorney general, municipalities, and other service delivery entities, local governments in the districts and provinces. It was decided to give priority to this issue and all these entities were asked to come up with a serious plan to curb these extortions as soon as possible. The High Office of Oversight shall report on the progress.
§ Simplification of procedures in the government offices has a key role in preventing corruption. Government entities were directed to start simplifying those lengthy procedures as soon as possible. The High Office of Oversight shall provide the necessary support and report on the progress.
§ An effective complaints and follow-up mechanism be established under the High Office of Oversight in the center and provinces, receiving complaints from citizens on corruption, which will provide the basis for exposing and prosecuting corrupt officials.
§ The High Office of Oversight has a crucial role to play in the fight against corruption. The President instructed all government institutions to fully cooperate with the High Office and assured the High Office of Oversight of his staunch support. The President also called upon the international community and relevant government departments to provide the High Office of Oversight with the necessary resources and means.
Released by the Office of the Spokesman to the President