Combating corruption has long been a prerequisite for international grants and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has made innumerable commitments to eroding corruption. In 2018 Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, focused on policy and strategy, Afghanistan’s short-term deliverables for 2019-2020 under the Mutual Accountability Framework were established as below:

  • Improving security and political stability;
  •  Anti-corruption, governance, rule of law, and human rights;
  • Restoring fiscal sustainability & integrity of public finance and commercial banking;
  • Reforming development planning and management & ensuring citizen’s development rights;
  • Private sector development and inclusive growth and development; and
  • Development partnerships and aid effectiveness.

With the surfacing of first positive cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, the government was literally flooded by emergency assistance funds from international donors such as the European Union, Work Bank and Asian Development Bank. The government has always been criticized over the transparency in the utilization of emergency funds in public procurement processes for governmental hospitals designated for treating COVID-19 patients and relief programs run by the government such as the distribution of free bread to destitute citizens.

According to investigative reports, more than 800 million Afghanis (around USD 10 million) plundered by those involved in the process. The allegations were later on supported and proved legitimate by the Investigation Authority of the Presidential Office (IAPO) leading to referring the ex-governors of Herat and Nooristan provinces and the current governors of Badakhshan and Maidan Wardak provinces to Attorney General’s Office (AJO) for further investigations. In a separate move, the IAPO has also ushered the Ex-Minister of Public Health Mr. Ferozuddin Feroz along with four, former and current, Deputy Ministers of this ministry to the Attorney General’s Office over the charges of misappropriation of COVID-19 funds. Meanwhile, on his Facebook account, the Ex-Minister has ruled out the allegations and described the move as an attempt of false anti-corruption achievement for the upcoming Geneva Conference in November.

The Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), in an unprecedented move, has referred the Ex-Acting Minister Ms. Narges Nehan and 18 other members of the ministry including its Deputy Ministers, Advisors and former & current employees to the Attorney General’s Office over the charges of alleged involvement in administrative corruption, misuse of the entrusted power and deceiving the High Economic Council.  

Now, with all the financial and other forms of support commitments by international community ending in 2020, the Afghan government is making itself ready for the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for November 2020, hoping for renewed financial pledges crucial for the survival of the setting government and perhaps getting leverage during peace talks with its main armed opponent group, the Taliban.

Afghanistan had been listed in 173rd place from among 180 countries assessed by Transparency International in 2019.

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Author

  • Ahmad Jahid Atal is a writer, social activists and freelance reporter. He writes for Khaama Press and other digital publishers. He tweets at @atal_jahid