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AGO’s organizational structure outdated, finds MEC study

aug2017 5Jul 20, 2017: KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) on Wednesday released its study on ‘vulnerabilities’ that make corruption possible in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

The study was aimed at supporting the AGO in fighting corruption, enhancing its openness to scrutiny, increasing transparency and promoting additional monitoring mechanisms.

“All these activities shall help rebuild confidence in the AGO. The German funded programme Open Policy Advisory Fund (OPAF) supported MEC in conducting the study,” read a statement from the German Cooperation with Afghanistan.

At a press conference on Wednesday, MEC’s chairperson Mark Pyman emphasised: “Assessing the AGO’s vulnerability to corruption will support the AGO in fighting corruption within the organisation. We consider this study a milestone for rebuilding confidence in the AGO.”

Attorney General Farid Hamidi was hailed for successfully implementing substantial changes such increasing the budget and salary of prosecutors, setting up public complaint boxes, enhancing the monitoring of prosecutors performance in the provinces and controlling staff attendance in order to address past deficiencies.

Despite recent progress, the MEC has identified a number of recommendations to further reform the AGO, reducing corruption and increasing organisational effectiveness.

“Findings indicate that current case management practices make it difficult to track cases. Criminal statistics raise concern about backlogs, case tracking and underreporting. These can potentially facilitate corruption. Court procedures do not ensure a fair hearing and can be manipulated to extract bribes,” the study said.

According to the report, bribery and interference were main forms of corruption within AGO where no accurate mechanism was in place to monitor prosecutor activities. The AGO’s organisational structure was outdated and needed to be streamlined, the report said.

The assessment study provided clear guidelines to the AGO to realise change and fight corruption effectively. “These guidelines outline how to fight corruption within the AGO and therefore within the Afghan justice system. In a next step, MEC will support the AGO to implement these recommendations.”

“After this initial assessment, MEC will conduct follow-up studies and check upon the progress of implementing MEC’s recommendations.”

The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) independently monitors and evaluates national and international efforts to fight corruption in Afghanistan. It reports to the public, parliament, president, and international community.

Source Link: Pajhwok

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