KABUL: International donors will cut funding to Afghan projects unless action is taken to stop rampant graft from going unpunished, the independent anti-graft watchdog has warned.
“The biggest problem in the country is impunity. People don’t see the bad guys are being sanctioned, people do not trust the government,” Drago Kos, Chairman of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), said at the release of group’s six-month report.
Afghanistan ranks among the most corrupt nations in the world and international donors, who have propped up its economy for decades. The launch of the MEC in 2011 was hailed as a milestone in the fight against corruption by the British government, one its sponsors, but progress has been slow.
Kos said some ministries completely ignore MEC recommendations and over the past six months, not one high-ranking official had been prosecuted or fired.
“There’s no reaction from police or the attorney general’s office,” said Kos, who began fighting corruption in his native Slovenia and at the start of 2014 will take over as chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
The report cited the US-backed Civilian Technical Assistance Plan (CTAP) within the Ministry of Finance, which has been awarded over $40m so far.
Despite CTAP becoming synonymous with nepotism and fraud, neither the ministry nor the Supreme Audit Office had shown any “willingness” to cooperate, it said. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), its largest donor, has commissioned a review of the programme. “It would have to be a very serious issue that they would cut their programme, but when deciding about a new one, this could be an influence. They will either not get into it, or limit the funding,” Kos said.
USAID has been slammed by auditors for grand, wasteful schemes, some of which have even faced opposition by people they were supposed to help.
At last year’s Tokyo Conference, delegates from 80 nations and international organisations pledged $16bn over four years, but tied funding to a stronger effort to combat corruption.