Afghanistan’s US sponsored democracy

January 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm (Global Issues, Governance, Politics) (, )

Source: The New York Times

Afghans paid $2.5 billion to bribe public officials over 12 months ending late last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report. The report said one person in two had to pay at least one kickback to a public official — whether a police officer, politician, judge or government official, between the fall of 2008 and the fall of 2009. Many paid to cut through red tape or to get help with poor service. Western officials have been urging President Hamid Karzai to crack down on corruption in the government, but they have raised questions over his commitment to do so.

15 Afghan ministers under investigation; bribes, perks, skimming

Source: On The Defense

KABUL (AP)  Fifteen current and former Afghan ministers are under investigation over allegations of corruption that have plagued the government of President Hamid Karzai, the attorney general’s office said Tuesday.

In his inaugural address last week for his second term as president, Karzai pledged to arrest those who spread corruption. International leaders, who have threatened to hold back troops and development aid unless Karzai cleans up corruption in his government, are watching closely to see if he keeps his promise.

“We are investigating allegations against 15 ministers  three of them in the current Cabinet and the rest of them former ministers,” Fazel Ahmad Faqiryar, first deputy attorney general, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He declined to name any of the ministers under investigation, saying he was forbidden to do so by law. He said none had been questioned yet. Faqiryar said that under Afghan law, a special court is needed to prosecute a Cabinet minister.

“We haven’t had that court in the past, but fortunately that court is being established very soon,” he said. “The president will approve the judges for that court. When we have completed our cases, we will submit them to the special court that is being set up.” He said some of the former ministers under investigation are living in exile outside of Afghanistan.

He said the attorney general’s office has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interpol for help in arresting them and returning them to Afghanistan to face charges. Speaking earlier Tuesday at a news conference, Karzai’s spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said that no arrest warrants have been issued for any minister.

The presidential spokesman was responding to allegations that money was pocketed at the Afghan Ministry of Hajj and Mosque. Sediq Chakari, who heads the ministry, said two employees of his ministry were being investigated in connection with unaccounted money that Afghans paid the government for travel and accommodation to attend this year’s annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

“There are no arrest warrants for the Cabinet ministers, including Minister Chakari,” Hamidzada said. He did not refer to the investigations mentioned by Faqiryar. Hamidzada said Karzai was planning a conference in Kabul to outline a plan to battle corruption within the government and the international contracting system.


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