Rooting out Corruption

In 2014, the National Unity Government was faced with what President Ashraf Ghani has termed ‘state capture’ of public institutions by corrupt individuals. Corruption had become deep-rooted and endemic at every level in Afghan government. The government’s strategy has been to address the issue of corruption at its roots, in order to change the culture of corruption from one of acceptance to one of shame.

The National Unity Government is implementing its Afghanistan National Strategy for Combatting Corruption, under the guidance of the High Council for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption. The Anti-Corruption Justice Center was established to prosecute high-level cases of corruption in the Afghan government. The National Procurement Authority was established to centralize government procurement to safeguard it from corruption.

The government has made substantial progress over the past three years, as documented most recently in UNAMA and SIGAR’s respective reports on the government’s progress in implementing the national anti-corruption strategy. So far, full implementation of 21 benchmarks of the strategy have been completed on or ahead of schedule. 10 other benchmarks are in the advanced stages of implementation. From the remaining benchmarks, 4 of them have been partially implemented, 2 have been launched and only 1 of them has no progress.

According to Transparency International, though Afghanistan rates very low on the international transparency index, its score has increased by seven points in the last six years, moving from a score of 8 in 2012 to a score 15 in 2016 and 2017. This can be attributed to efforts nationwide in Afghanistan to improve key policies, and better regulation of national procurement activities.

Achieved (29/64): 45.5 Achieved (29/64): 45.5 %Partially achieved and on-going(32/64): 50.0 %Partially achieved and on-going(32/64): 50.0 %In process (1/64): 1.5 %In process (1/64): 1.5 %No information (1/64): 1.5 %No information (1/64): 1.5 %Not achieved (1/64): 1.5 %Not achieved (1/64): 1.5 %Partially achieved and on-going (32/64)Percentage: 50.0

1. Provide political leadership and empower reformers
– Conduct an annual national outreach and feedback discussion on the anti-corruption strategy led by the President and CEO
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • President Ashraf Ghani held an annual advisory conference on May 3, 2018 through videoconference with governors, provincial heads of the Ulema Council and university chancellors. At the consultation, government leadership officials included the second Vice-President, General Attorney, Head of Ulema Council, Head of IDLG, Minister of Higher Education, advisors, Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat, and others. Two main topics were discussed: (1) Issues and challenges to combat corruption, and (2) Challenges and difficulties in the process of registering voters and possible solutions.
  • On July 28, 2018, a conference was held at the Presidential Palace under the name of “Mosques-Voice Raising against Corruption”.  More than 200 Ulema from all over Afghanistan attended the conference.
  • The National Anti-Corruption Symposium was held in Summer 2018.

– Hold a national consultative conference on ensuring electoral integrity for the 2019 presidential election
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • A National Elections Forum (NEF) was established to serve as consultative mechanism on parliamentary and presidential elections, and includes representatives from the government, the Elections Support Group, the Independent Election Commission, the Election Complaints Commission, political parties and coalitions, civil society organizations, and the media. The NEF meets monthly and is open to public and media.
  • Preliminary consultations have been hosted by President Ghani via video conference with governors, academia, and ulema across the country. A large consultative symposium is being planned to bring together ulema, youth and media in order to mobilize different stakeholders to stand against corruption and in support of elections.

– Advance the use of biometric electronic voting technology in all large cities
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Electronic National ID card registration was launched by the Population Registration Authority in April 2018 and is on-going.
  • The Afghan government has funded the procurement of biometric voter registration equipment, which will be placed in voter centers that are deemed at a high risk of fraudulent activity. These machines will expose instances of fraud during the October 20 parliamentary elections. The technology will be advanced during the Presidential elections to prevent instances of fraud.

– Enforce full (100%) compliance with asset disclosure and verification requirements for senior officials;
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The responsibility for asset declaration registration was handed over to the Administrative Office of the President (AOP). At of October 2018, asset disclosure forms have been submitted and signed by over 15,000 government employees, including the 34 senior-most Afghan government officials, with the exception of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, and 350 asset disclosure forms published online. These cover all senior government officials as defined by Article 154 of the Afghan constitution. The asset declarations have been published online in Dari at this link.
  • The new Law on Declaration and Registration of Assets of State Officials and Employees has recently been amended to require that all government officials working in second or higher grades, including members of the Afghan Parliament, Provincial and District Councils, security, judiciary and prosecution departments, must also declare assets. The amendment also included asset verification mechanisms and sanctions for non-compliance. The asset declaration of this level of government employees is still on-going. The Asset Registration Office at AOP is operating swiftly, with over 1,300 officials declaring their assets in the first six weeks that the office was operating, which is twice as many registrations completed by High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption in the entire 2017.

– Support parliamentary leadership to develop an anti-corruption action plan for the Parliament and support its implementation
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Afghan Upper House of Parliament (Meshrani Jirga) developed an anti-corruption plan, which include measures such as adoption of a code of conduct, verified asset declarations, and report cards released to the public. The assets registration form has been distributed amongst senate members. However, the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) has declined to prepare and share their Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
  • There have been increased efforts by Parliament to be more transparent, including the publication of attendance records online by the Lower House since 2016, and both Houses publicly broadcasting their plenary hearings nationwide. Agenda, reports, bills under consideration, adopted legislation, international conventions, treaties and ratified agreements are all published online.
  • The upcoming parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018 are expected to increase compliance and transparency in the Parliament. Candidates for parliamentary elections, according to the 2016 Election Law, are required to make financial disclosures to the Independent Election Commission.

– Revise civil and criminal substantive and procedural laws to foster the prosecution of corrupt individuals, to promote the recovery of illegally obtained assets
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • On September 5, 2018, the Cabinet approved a new Anti-Corruption Law, a first for the country.
  • The new Penal Code, enacted on February 17, 2018, includes all mandatory, as well as many optional, provisions of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), thus facilitating the prosecution and trial of corruption cases. Those acts now criminalized include:
  • bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, obstruction of justice, land grabbing, seizure of assets, false declaration of assets by government officials, discrimination in public administration, forgery of employment and recruitment records to misappropriate salaries of inexistent staff, and money-laundering, as well as other financial-related corrupt practices
  • Under the new Penal code, perpetrators of corruption-related crimes are not eligible for alternative sanctions to imprisonment, and are barred from entering or re-entering the Civil Service.  Punishments for anti-corruption offenses are better defined than previously and give less discretion to judges on sentencing.

– Facilitate the exclusion of those convicted of corruption from public service
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • Under the new Penal code, passed in February 2018, perpetrators of corruption-related crimes are not eligible for alternative sanctions to imprisonment, and are barred from entering or re-entering the Civil Service. 
  • According to new Civil Servants law endorsed by President Ghani in March 2018, civil servants who are terminated from duty or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than one year for corruption crimes are barred from serving in the Civil Service for five years. If a civil servant is sentenced to imprisonment for more than one year, he or she is permanently barred from the Civil Service.
  • The Attorney General’s office, the Supreme Court and judiciary, and the Major Crimes Task Force in the Ministry of Interior make use of background checks, internal investigations and polygraphs to vet employees.
  • Efforts are on-going to root out, charge and prosecute those still practicing corruption within the government, though many arrests and case have been opened via the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (2,635 such cases from May – November 2018. ) The ACJC has investigated 41 high profile financial and administrative corruption cases since its establishment in 2016 and issued warrants for 157 individuals. These people include deputy ministers, military generals, provincial council members, mayors and municipal officials, administrative staff and tycoons.  The prosecution of high-profile cases is not limited to ACJC–currently five former cabinet ministers are being prosecuted in special courts.

– Pass a Whistleblower’s Protection Act and other necessary laws
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Act was approved in principle by the Cabinet in a meeting on September 13, 2018.
  • The new Penal Code, enacted in February 2018, safeguards media freedom and allows for investigative journalism, tightens the definition of the crime of insulting public officials in order to distinguish it from citizens’ rights to voice legitimate criticism of the government, and provides certain immunities for informers (ie whistleblowers) on criminal activities.
  • Whistleblower protections were also incorporated into the 2018 amendments of the Access to Information law.

– Mobilize and strengthen High Council on Law, Justice and Anti-corruption
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The High Council on Law, Justice and Anti-Corruption was set up in 2017 and became very active throughout 2018. The Council Secretariat is headed by Yama Torabi, founder and former director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan. The Council has effectively advanced anti-corruption reforms, meeting dozens of times from its establishment through the end of April 2018. A key achievement of the Council is the adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy on September 28, 2017 and the finalization of 53 anti-corruption actions plans of varies ministries as of October 2018. It monitors the Anti-Corruption Strategy implementation across government.

– Create an independent Ombudsmen related to the Attorney General’s Office for the President’s Office aligned with Article 69 (“presidential accountability”) of the Constitution
 PROGRESS: – In process
  • The presidential decree required to create the Afghan Ombudsmen Inspection Bureau was signed in May 12, 2018, and work is underway to set up the office and recruit an Ombudsman.

– Introduce an awards program for civil servant individual and team achievements in-fighting corruption
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • In May 2018, the IARCSC launched an awards program, the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Award, in May 2018 to recognize and award excellence, efficiency, productivity and creativity in public service.
  • The Civil Servants law, newly amended in March 2018, instituted a merit-based recruitment procedure as well as outlining a performance appraisal system and disciplinary sanctions for civil servants.
  • The Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) is in development, which provides accurate statistical information on civil servants, which was lacking in the past was lacking in the past.The HRMIS records accurate information about civil servants in the capital and provinces as well as information about personnel affairs. The IARCSC has recently purchased 80 biometric registration kits to record civil servant information.

– Expand public engagements by senior officials to discuss progress on fighting corruption in national media
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • When the new Penal Code came into effect in February 2018, the focus shifted to supporting awareness and implementation of the code. The Ministry of Justice printed 5,000 copies of the Penal Code and distributed them throughout the country. Judicial officials are currently being trained on application of the new Penal Code.  A number of senior officials from ministries and departments will present major anti-corruption activities and achievements through weekly press conferences for public awareness.

– Create Reformer Networks in the Ministry of Finance, the revenue and high spending ministries
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • Leadership at the Ministry of Finance, revenue generation and high-spending ministries has been overhauled, with new leadership installed at the senior-most level as well as Deputy Ministers, Director Generals and Directors. Many of these new faces in senior-level technical government positions are under the age of 40, highly-educated and reform-minded.
  • Out of 27 Ministers, 11are under 40, comprising 41%
  • Out of 79 Deputy Ministers, 39 are under 40, comprising 49%
  • Out of 24 Independent Directorate heads, 11 are under 40, comprising 46%
  • Out of 34 governors, 6 are under 40, comprising 18%
  • Out of a total of 164 key leadership positions in government, 95 are under 40, comprising 58% of overall National Unity Government leadership.
  • A cultural of accountability is being put in place in each Ministry as reforms are rolled out at each ministry. The five revenue-generating ministries (including Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation) have shared quarterly anti-corruption progress reports on their respective official websites and with donors.
  • To date, over 40 ministries and independent organizations have sent their Anti-Corruption Action Plans to the Secretariat of the High Council for Law, Justice and Anti-Corruption for review, including the 15 ministries and institutions prioritized in the anti-corruption strategy.

– Strengthen an Independent Board for Senior Security Official Appointments
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • Established in January 2018 and headed by Major General Abdul Khalid Sarwari.  In the last six months, the Board has evaluated 89 individuals in the appointment and 37 in the promotion sections of the Ministry of Defense, 171 individuals in the appointment and 45 in the promotion sections of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and 3 individuals in the appointment and 3 in the promotion sections of the National Security Council.

– Monitor enforcement of strengthened “open government” laws in the revenue and high spending ministries
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The government is a partner in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and on December 26, 2017 submitted its National Action Plan. The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and subnational governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee including representatives of governments and civil society organizations.
  • As of April 2018, the following 13 commitments under this partnership have been delivered by Afghanistan:
  • Established a committee responsible for drafting the protection policy for women under conflict and emergency situations
  • Prepared the draft plan for the joint committee to oversee the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy, and held a consultative meeting with civil society and relevant public departments to incorporate their inputs into the final draft
  • Ministry of Justice drafted amendments to Law on Processing, Publishing and Enforcing Legislative Documents (LPPELD)
  • Held consultative meetings with related governmental agencies and civil society on the draft amendments
  • The organizational structure of special courts for Violence against Women crimes have been designed for 6 provinces
  • An  awareness-raising session on special courts for Violence against Women crimes was held
  • Held three joint meetings in order to revise, scrutinize and approve the mechanism of public partnership in the inspection process
  • Established the Information Units Reform Panel to develop a methodology to assess information units
  • Health Service Accreditation Scheme drafted by Ministry of Public Health
  • Established the the National Oversight Committee (NOC) for the Transparency and Quality of Education and Higher Education and created its specific ToR
  • A holistic monitoring mechanism to asses the quality of teaching in education and higher education institutes developed by NOC
  • The draft of Urban Improvement and Rehabilitation National Policy developed
  • General directorates of community-based police (police mardumi) in 11 provinces of Afghanistan established
  • The five revenue-generating ministries presented their anti-corruption plans
  • The 2017 e-Governance Development Index (EGDI) report indicates that Afghanistan is ranked 171 out of 193 countries, which is a 13-step rise compared to 2012. Similarly, the 2017 Electronic Participation (EPART) Index also shows Afghanistan ranked 104 among 193 countries, which is a 48-step rise compared to 2014.
2. End security sector corruption, especially in the Ministry of Interior
“Let me summarize the reforms most relevant to peace. The key to our negotiating credibility will be whether we succeed in reforming our security sector. I have said elsewhere and I will repeat again here that the cutting edge for our security reform strategy is whether we succeed in reforming the Ministry of Interior.” – President Ashraf Ghani, Kabul Process conference, June 6, 2017
Corruption in the security sector, emanating most strongly from the Ministry of Interior (MoI), over the past decade, has cost Afghanistan heavily in human and financial resources needed to protect our citizens and enforce rule of law. Under Afghanistan’s Four Year Security Plan for the ANDSF, the mission of the Afghan National Police is to conduct community policing with a focus on rule of law, to restore the trust that has been broken between the Afghan people and the face of law enforcement in the country. Sweeping and unprecedented reforms have been on-going at the MoI since 2014 to cut corruption install systems of accountability and transparency, and establish responsible and qualified leadership. Reforms are overseen by the International Community Advisor Steering Council, which meets weekly in Kabul and includes representatives of the following agencies: UN Development Program, UNAMA, the German Police Project Team, and U.S. Government departments and agencies, including the Department of State and the Department of Justice.

– Competent and qualified leadership in the Ministry of Interior
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • •    A reform-oriented leader, Minister Wais Barmak, was appointed and confirmed by the National Assembly on December 4, 2017. Two deputy ministers have also been replaced, including the First Deputy Minister, and the Deputy Minister for Security. President Ghani has appointed new leadership in 16 senior-most positions at the MoIA. Further senior levels positions remain vacant.

– Review and replace all MoI deputy ministers, director generals, and police chiefs as warranted
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • A major effort to civilianize the police force was initiated in June 2015 at the MoIA, articulated with a phased approach in the Road Map of Civilianization. The goal is to deconstruct corruption networks at the MoIA which developed through patronage networks and create a professional, citizen-focused police force with qualified and accountable leadership. As part of this road map, the MoIA implemented a comprehensive personnel analysis supported by UNDP’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) which focused on all levels of positions, including leadership. Director General-level and police chief’s positions are in the process of being replaced currently, with remaining Deputy Ministers to follow.
  • The MoIA signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with the Civil Service Commission to recruit civil servant positions at the MoIA. Progress as of June 2018 on civilianization efforts:
  • The first two phases have been completed, with the third recruitment phase started. As of June 2018, 191 senior and mid-level civilian staff have been recruited, including seven Directors, 15 Deputy Directors, and 34 Deputy Provincial Chief of Police. Two Deputy Ministers, six General Directors and Directors  were appointed as part of MoIA civilianization process who were interviewed by H.E. the President, H.E. CEO and MoIA Minister. The recruitment process for lower level staff is ongoing. The civilianization process of MoIA Finance and Budget, Logistics and HR, Security, Investigation, Procurement and Facility departments are completed in a transparent manner.
  • All district police chiefs of Kabul province have been replaced, with further replacements now being rolled out to the provinces. 14 new provincial police chiefs have been appointed.
  • Policing positions are filled through a high-appointments board chaired by the Deputy Minister of Interior for Security.
  • 5,000 police positions have been allocated for female staff, and over 50% of the target has been achieved with over 3,000 women in police roles currently.
  • The organizational structure of the Afghan Local Police changed for 10 provinces including Logar, Wardak, Paktia, Nangarhar, Ghor, Kapisa, Badakhshan, Ghazni, Zabul, and Helmand.
  • An overall structural review of MoIA at the central and provincial level was completed and as a result all parallel structures within MOIA were removed or integrated.

– Clarify the mandates of defense and policing, transfer Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) and the border guards from Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Defense, with all senior commanders to undergo full review
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • Transfer: In 2017, as part of on-going reforms at MoIA and part of the Four Year Security plan, President Ghani issued a decree to transfer Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) and Afghan Border Police (ABP) from the MoIA to the Ministry of Defense (MoD). This process was completed and acknowledged in an official ceremony on Qaws 8, 1396 (29th Nov 2017); 19,322 ABP personnel transferred to MoD and 4,000 ABP personnel remained in MoIA and will be stationed at customs ports and airports. 13,049 (out of 15,599) ANCOP personnel transferred to MoD; 2,550 ANCOP personnel remained with MoIA as counter-crisis police.
  • Clarification of mandates: Under the Four Year Security plan for the ANDSF, the Afghan National Police’s mission and mandate has been clarified as conducting community policing with a focus on rule of law. However, because the ANP had been trained as a counterinsurgency force, the ANP lacked the ability to protect the general populace as a civilian policing institution, and to address crime prevention. It is now mandatory for all Afghan police to complete the required training programs before starting their assignments. Progress to date:
    • 34,386 ANP and Afghan Local Police (ALP) received basic training.
    • A 200-person capacity Training Center was stablished and equipped with information technology in Kabul.
    • Master’s program scholarships allotted for 80 personnel at American University of Afghanistan.
    • Establishment of three training centers for female police in Kabul (capacity 500), in Balkh (capacity 300) and in Herat (capacity 200).
    • 27 training courses conducted at the police academy for MoIA personnel.

– Establish a police ombudsman to handle complaints against the police
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • While the special police ombudsman office has not been formally established, two people have been assigned to collect and review complaints in the MoI. A call-in hotline to receive complaints (119) has been operational since 2009, and under the new leadership at MoIA has started actually referring complaints for investigation. General Enamuddin Hoshmand was appointed to be in charge of the hotline on June 2018. Most of the cases referred need urgent actions such as security threats, suspected bomb placement and etc.
  • Minister Barmak initiated a new two-and-half hour weekly radio program broadcast on the MoIA’s police radio station 20 Qows 1396, where he directly takes citizens’ and police complaints, and in the following week’s program he shares with viewers how the complaints have been addressed. 10 programs have been conducted in which 150 cases of complaints were received and solved. Most cases brought forward by police include payroll problems, hiring, firing, replacements and promotions. The problems brought forward by  the public include security, passport, and ID cards, traffic and police behavior.
  • MoU was signed between MoIA and Human Rights Commission to address human rights violation cases by ANP

– Identify and revise laws needed for security sector reform
Partially achieved and on-going.  The following laws and policies have been reviewed and amended to facilitate reforms:
  • The Inherent Law of Officers was revised and the retirement age of military and police officers  was changed from 65 to 55 years, thus allowing for the promotion of 5,000 younger, more qualified officers into higher ranks.
  • The Afghan Police Law, which contains such rules as who the police is, police ranks, grades and classification, duties and responsibility of police, the way police must perform his duties and responsibility, has been reviewed and revised.
  • ANP Code of Conduct was revised and approved.
  • A detailed MoIA organizational structure was revised and disseminated to all MoIA units.
  • Creation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the appointment of senior and high level officers revised.
  • MoIA policies were reviewed and the number of policies decreased from 125 to 40 policies.
  • 11 policies were revised and the remaining are going to be revised by the end of 1397 (2018).
  • SOP for maintaining the personnel transparency, speeding up the daily performance, maintaining justice among the personnel, anti-corruption and merit consideration in all positions has been developed.
  • SOP and Framework for monitoring and evaluation of the reform efforts have been developed.
  • SOP for reporting the reform activities has been developed and approved.
  • MoIA Strategic Leadership Board (SLB) meetings are held to track reform interventions at MoIA..
    • Payroll system assessment has been completed in 18 units at MoIA. This assessment showed that Web Electronic Payment System (WEPS) is problematic and does not respond to the payment needs of MoIA.
    • 14 policies have been evaluated in different directorates of MoIA and recommendations for reform and decision-making have been provided to MoIA leadership.
    • Working systems of general directorates of logistics, finance and budget, and procurement directorate have been assessed and recommendations for reform at MoIA were provided.
    • Combating corruption, especially in the audit unit, intelligence, and Department for Fighting Crimes, by enforcing disciplinary measures and referring prosecutions and trials when criminal conduct is involved. To date, 128 corruption cases have been prosecuted including 115 cases in 2017, and 13 cases in 2018.
    • Improving the organizational structure and developing coordination and cooperation within the MoIA by establishing internal procedures, internal controls programs, and reporting and oversight mechanisms
    • Establishing strategic management systems.
    • Establishment of Strategic Leadership Board to track, monitor and evaluate the reform efforts.
    • Providing awareness to personnel about policies, procedures of training and hiring.
    • Outlining the civilian police plan.
    • Developing the training of police officers and appointments on the basis of merit.
    • Developing the educational level of trainers in the police academies.
    • Strengthening the human resource policies.                     
  • To guide these internal reform priorities, the MoIA adopted the new four-year MoIA Strategic Plan, which defines outputs, tasks and timeframes for the period 2018 to 2021. It has been rolled out initially in Kabul and Herat, then gradually across the country.
  • As articulated in this plan, anti-corruption efforts are being implemented across all the levels of MoIA and ANP, including zone, province and district levels. These measures include revision of internal procedures, the establishment of internal control programs, as well as reporting and oversight mechanisms. In particular, the MoIA has built the capacity of its Inspector General and internal audit organs. Disciplinary measures have been increasingly used as well as prosecutions and trials when criminal conduct was involved. These measures are expected to increase the low public trust in the Afghan National Police.
  • A monitoring and evaluation network has been established and activated at MOIA to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of four year strategic plan, policies, annual plan, and reform efforts and change management. Through this network challenges are identified and solutions are provided for decision making.
  • New financial management and logistics and supply systems have been put in place, including Afghan Personnel and Payment System (APPS) for the management of personnel and their payment system, Afghan Financial Management Information System (AFMIS), Core IMS (Inventory management System) for logistics which is operational at the national and zone levels.
  • It is estimated that instituting reforms and fighting corruption has increased the sufficiency of ANDSF supply chains by 85%. To date, about 1.7 billion Afghanis has been saved due to cutting corruption from MoIA contracting and procurement processes. After and evaluation of 262 corruption cases in the MoIA, 112 officers, including generals, were referred to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.  A MoIA general was put on trial for bribery charges in a fuel contract scheme and was sentenced to 14 year in jail, the first time a high-ranking MoIA official has been prosecuted and sentenced on corruption charges.
  • Process of payment to disabled and martyred heroes have been simplified and systemized. As of June 2018, payments to 1,897 martyrs for their families were completed. Housing facilities were provided to 720 martyrs’ families and 821 martyrs’ families received the equivalent in cash.
  • Electronic systems have been installed and operationalized in four airports and eight borders and so far 88,812 foreigners/passengers have been registered in the system.

– Complete a security sector fiduciary risk assessment
 PROGRESS: – Not achieved.
  • The fiduciary risk assessment of the security sector was due by the end June 2018, to be completed by the Ministry of Finance.

– Complete personnel inventory and discharge or prosecute commanders for ‘ghost police’
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • President Ghani ordered that the issue of ‘ghost police’ in the ANP be addressed immediately. The MoIA established 20 mobile teams to conduct a nation-wide physical inventory of all personnel, and take biometrics for all soldiers and police officers at the central and provincial level.
  • As of November 2018, the bio-metric registration has been completed for 114,934 (97%) ANP personnel, 28,041 (96%) Afghan local police, and 4,272 (62%) Prison and Detention Centers police.  This is an on-going process and MoIA is committed to complete the personnel inventory process as planned. The biometric enrollment of 90% of personnel in the Ministry of Defense and Chief of Staff of the Army has been completed.
  • From the beginning of the personnel inventory process, 598 ghost police have been identified in Farah, Badghis, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
– Review and replace all provincial police chiefs as warranted
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • In addition to all 34 deputy provincial police chiefs recruited through the civilianization process and now in place, a total of 14 new provincial police chiefs have been appointed and are now in place. In addition, the Kabul police chief and all Kabul province district police chiefs have been replaced. In a ceremony on May 10, 2018, the following provincial police chiefs (plus two commanders) assumed their new positions:
    • Major Gen. Khalilullah, Commander of Police 303 Zone
    • Brigadier Gen. Raz Mohamamd, Commander of Police 808 Zone
    • Major Gen. Abdul Baqi Nurstani, Kunduz Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Aminullah Amarkhail, Herat Police Chief
    • Brigadier Gen Akhtar Mohammad Nawrozi, Khost Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Abdul Rahman Aqtash, Takhar Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Nabi Jan Mullakhail, Faryab Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoi, Sar-e-Pul Police Chief
    • Colonel Mohammada Abdali, Logar Police Chief
    • Colonel Abdul Rauf Uruzgani, Laghman Police chief
    • Colonel Farid Mashal, Ghazni Police Chief
    • Colonel Sayed Abbas Sadat, Nuristan Police Chief
    • Brigadier Gen. Mohammad Saber, Badakhshan Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Ghafoori, Daikundi Police Chief
    • Ahmad Fahim Qayem, Badghis Police Chief
    • Major Gen. Haqnawaz, Kunar Police Chief
    • Brigadier Gen. Wais Hamidi, Maidan Wardak Police Chief                                          
    • In order to evaluate the performance of police stations, the MoIA conducted an assessment in police districts of 10, 11, and 15 of Kabul. Based on the results of this assessment, the 10th police district was designated as the “reform initiative model”. The reform action plan of the 10th Police Station is further developed and being implemented elsewhere.

– Expand electronic payroll to all accessible districts
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • Once personnel have completed biometric registration (see above section), e-payments are made via the LOTFA-funded Support to Payroll Management project (SPM). MoIA’s biometric human resource records are reconciled with the payroll system, thus eliminating the possibility of ‘ghost police’.
  • As of June 2018, 97.71% of police salaries are paid directly to individual bank accounts, 0.14% transferred through mobile money systems, and 2.15% still paid through trusted agents in areas with no bank access. Similarly, the Ministry of Defense has provided 90% of its personnel with the APPS system where they can receive their salary payments electronically.  Read more here on the SPM program.
3. Replace patronage with merit in the civil service
– Revise and approve laws and guidelines required for institutionalizing a transparent civil service system
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
A number of public administration laws have been reviewed and revised  and new laws and policies enacted over the past few years. Further laws are in the pipeline. Find a list of laws here. Some of the key laws and policies include:
  • Newly amended Civil Servants Law endorsed by President Ashraf Ghani in March 2018 reinstated the authority of the Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Commission’s (IARCSC) Appointment Board to recruit civil servants in the Rank B Grades 1 and 2 and to monitor recruitment of lower grades by the respective institutions, including civil servants in the Judiciary. The law also states that civil servants who are terminated from duty or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than one year for corruption crimes are barred from serving in the civil service for five years. If a civil servant is sentenced to imprisonment of more than one year, he or she is permanently barred from ever serving in the civil service. In addition to instituting merit-based recruitment procedures, the amendments also outlined a performance appraisal system and disciplinary sanctions for civil servants.
  • The Law on Administrative Procedure was drafted and approved by the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled. This law is the first of its kind in the country. It help resolve disputes between employees and employers using principles of legality, equality, impartiality, and access to lawful information. It is published in the Official Gazette, Extraordinary Issue No. 1298 dated April 4, 2018.
  • An anti-sexual harassment policy was implemented in 2016 across the public sector, and an anti-sexual harassment lawpassed in 2018
  • The IARCSC introduced a Gender Integration Policy in 2018 to increase the number of women in government. The IARCSC estimates that 22% of government employees are women, with the goal is to increase that to 30% over the next 5 years. The goal for 2018 is to increase the number of women by 2%.The Central Statistics Organization (CSO) reports that women account for 22.5% of Civil Service employees, representing a 0.6% increase compared to 2015. In the recruitment process, women are awarded five extra points in both written and oral phases of the exam, part of a positive discrimination strategy.

– Advertise all positions publicly
 PROGRESS: – Achieved. 
  • The IARCSC launched an online recruitment platform in early 2018 where all positions in the civil service are publicly advertised. Vacancy announcements and application forms for civil servant positions are now only available online and all applications must be submitted through the online platform. The move to online recruitment in public service allows the recruitment process to be more effectively and efficiently monitored.  Public advertising and competitive selection for all positions.
  • As of May 2018, 20,000 vacant positions had been publicly advertised and competitive examinations had been held for the 280,000 candidates who applied. 225,000 applicants were shortlisted, of which 83,498 were women.

– Centralize examination, training and certification for all common ministry functions (procurement, financial management, human resource development)
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going. 
  • Mass recruitment has been totally digitized to ensure transparency. All recruitment processes are digitized, and include online application, biometric registration, and computer based exams with exam results computed instantly.
  • Instituting and implementing merit-based, transparent mass recruitment across the country for all government bodies and institutions, to cut patronage practices from civil service recruitment.  Results of mass recruitment efforts so far have included hiring 697 new staff across government procurement departments; introduction of merit-based recruitment for teachers at the Ministry of Education; and 177,00 positions (rank 5 & 6) including 8,000 teacher positions advertised for open competition. Of note is the reformed recruitment process for teachers, which used to be centered on  bribe-taking. The collective exam was administered in 34 provinces in the presence of civil society representatives. Around 280,000 people applied, of which 225,670 applicants were eligible to take the tests. To ensure transparency and prevent any undue interference, the applicants were biometrically registered and exam papers were evaluated electronically.
  • In 2017, Kankor, the national university entrance exam, once notorious for being rife with corruption, underwent rigorous scrutiny and reform. Managerial and technical reforms, as well as digitizing the exam and assigning each applicant with a biometric identification number, have cut opportunities for patronage and increased transparency. The exams were also assessed electronically. As a result, the percentage of failed applicants dropped from 45% in 2014 to 13% in 2015. 147,000 out of 169,000 applicants who sat for the Kankor passed the exam.
  • The IARCSC is also spearheading efforts to institute such reforms in all government ministries and bodies. So far, the following Ministries have been evaluated and had reform efforts initiated: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Health, Mines and Petroleum, Commerce and Industry, Refugees and Repatriation, Hajj and Endowment, Energy and Water, Counter Narcotics, Education, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, the Kabul Municipality, the Central Statistics Organization, and the Afghanistan National Standards Authority.
  • Of note is the work that IARCSC has been doing with the Independent Directorate for Local Governance on recruitment and performance assessment of deputy governors, district governors, and mayors. For the first time in the country’s history, mayors are being recruited through a transparent, competitive process instead of being appointed directly by the President. To date, 15 new city mayors (Nili, Mazar-e Sharif, Faizabad, Mahmud Raqi, Aibak, Sar-e Pol, Qalat, Maidan Shahr, Bazarak, Kunduz, Tarinkot, Jalalabad, Zaranj, Pol-e Khomri and Ghazni) have been recruited via a new transparent and merit-based recruitment process.
  • The IARCSC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) recently signed a joint reform agreement. As a result, 16 MoFA staff members were retired in accordance with the provisions enshrined in article 138 of the Labour Law and approved by the Promotion and Retirement Commission.  Furthermore, 49 MoFA staff members who failed to present their bachelor’s degrees were dismissed through a presidential decree.

– Revitalize the civil service training center and curriculum, with at least 5,000 inductees taking core courses in public administration, civil service gender policies, and anti-corruption
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • In May 2018, Mohammad Sayed Madadi was appointed as Director General of the Afghanistan Civil Service Institute (ACSI) to expand on initial reforms already undertaken at the ACSI.           
  • The Civil Service Training Center was rehabilitated based on the National Strategy for Combatting Corruption. After identifying the training needs of employees, the center designed and developed public administration, gender policy and anti-corruption training programs for 4,000 newly recruited civil servants. During 2018, the training plan for employees in the capital and provinces were developed and designed. The commission held 50 rounds of training programs on combatting corruption, administrative ethics and gender policy for all newly recruited civil servants in the capital and provinces during the end of 2018. Provision of educational materials or curriculum is a major part of the design and development of the above courses. As of 2018, the ACSI had trained 2000 civil servants in Kabul based training programs, 735 in overseas training programs, and 854 in provincial trainings. 
  • The CBR programme designed a Middle Management Development (MMD) programme to create quick growth opportunities and build the capacity of middle management staff. Each MMD training round will have 100 participants, of which half will be women. The first round was successfully completed.
– Benchmark senior civil servant pay grades against market salaries;
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • A committee composed of the Ministry of Finance, Civil Service Commission and the World Bank has been formed at the Ministry of Finance for implementation of this Goal. This committee is working to prepare a proposal which then will be submitted to the President for his approval.
  • In the meantime,  senior civil servant pay grades have been reassessed and adjusted in the following ministries:  Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Health, Mines and Petroleum, Commerce and Industry, Refugees and Repatriation, Hajj and Endowment, Energy and Water, Counter Nar- cotics, Education, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), the Kabul Municipality, the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) and the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA).

– Identify, protect, and promote honest, dedicated civil servants
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • In May 2018, the IARCSC launched an awards program, the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Award, in May 2018 to recognize and award excellence, efficiency, productivity and creativity in public service.
  • The Civil Servants law, newly amended in March 2018, instituted a merit-based recruitment procedure as well as outlining a performance appraisal system and disciplinary sanctions for civil servants.
  • The Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) is in development, which provides accurate statistical information on civil servants, which was lacking in the past was lacking in the past.The HRMIS records accurate information about civil servants in the capital and provinces as well as information about personnel affairs. The IARCSC has recently purchased 80 biometric registration kits to record civil servant information.

– Compulsory retirement packages for 1,000 civil servants between the ages of 55 and 65 12 grade or lower education levels
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • A policy on beneficial voluntary retirement of civil servants has been implemented. 1,062 civil servants between the ages of 55 and 65 having 12 grades or lower educational levels have been driven to retirement. From this number, 994 civil servants were driven to retirement by their relevant ministries/institutions and 68 of them were driven to retirement voluntarily.
  • In 2017, reforms were undertaken to ensure that those civil servants and military officers who reached retirement age are retired in dignity and can access their pensions more efficiently. A new retirement benefits system was implemented in 2017, with 114,930 retirees now biometrical registered in the system. 83% of estimated retirees in Kabul have been registered, and the system is now expanding to Nangarhar, Balkh, Kandahar, Paktia Kunduz and Herat.

– Manage out or give education options to at least 5,000 superannuated or non-performing, after which they will either meet performance criteria or leave the civil service
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • 6,351 superannuated or non-performing civil servants have been encouraged to resign, have resigned, or have been provided educational opportunities for their capacity development. This include 2,208 civil servants, aged between 55 and 65, who were driven to retirement or encouraged to retire or resign, and 4,143 civil servants with poor performance who were introduced to educational opportunities.

– Strengthen the Civil Service Commission’s regional and provincial offices to support subnational governance improvements
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The IARCSC has been working closely with the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG) to institute transparent, merit-based recruitment systems for mayoral and district governorships, a first for the country. To date, 15 new city mayors (Nili, Mazar-e Sharif, Faizabad, Mahmud Raqi, Aibak, Sar-e Pol, Qalat, Maidan Shahr, Bazarak, Kunduz, Tarinkot, Jalalabad, Zaranj, Pol-e Khomri and Ghazni) have been recruited via a new transparent and merit-based recruitment process.
  • Based on this new procedure, the top three applicants identified via the open competitive recruitment processes will be submitted to the President who will select the successful candidate. This process will allow a smooth transition to mayoral elections which are slated to commence in 2019.
  • The IARCSC has also assessed the performance of its regional office bases on the level of citizens’ satisfaction, and communication between its regional offices and the provincial administration. The departments of the Faryab, Bamyan, Badakhshan, Ghazni, Khost, Kunar and Ghor departments have been upgraded to  provincial directorates. In addition, due to the presence of a large number of civil servants on the local level, the Civil Service Commission has strengthened its 20 provincial offices in terms of their capacities to oversee appointments, monitor and appraise performance of civil servants, and use information technology in their daily work.

– Launch a public communications campaign to promote a culture of accountability
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The IARCSC has made vast improvements to its public outreach efforts, including updating and maintaining an informative website, issuing press releases to announce and publicize new positions.
  • IARCSC organized a meeting with media officials in mid 2018. At this meeting directors and journalists from Tolo News, Ariana News, 1TV, Khorshid, BBC, Shamshad, Azadi Radio, Salam Watandar, 8 AM Newspaper, 8AM Newspaper, Etelaat Roz Daily Newspaper, Pajhwok Afghan News, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal participated.

– Introduce citizen feedback mechanisms into the Civil Service Commission
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
On November 26, 2017, the IARCSC leadership’s initiated face-to-face meetings with citizens. Since then, 2,424 people from all of Afghanistan’s provinces have participated in these meetings. Women constitute 10.5 % of participants. The number of recorded complaints is 1,266, of which 1,173 have been addressed and the remaining under investigation. A special committee was established to oversee the recruitment process and ensure further transparency, which includes representatives of several government offices, foreign diplomats, development agencies, members of civil society, and media. The number of recorded complaints is 579, of which 505 have been addressed and the remaining under investigation.

– Create civil society and media oversight mechanisms to monitor major recruitment drives
 PROGRESS: –Achieved.
  • A special committee has been established to oversee the recruitment process and ensure further transparency. The special committee includes representatives of several government offices, foreign diplomats, development agencies, members of civil society, and media who meet regularly to debate and discuss public administration reform issues. The IARCSC amended the collective/mass recruitment procedures in order to facilitate civil society and media monitoring of the recruitment processes. Civil society and media have monitored public announcement of job vacancies, mass exams and interviews for procurement positions and commercial attaché positions, fifth and sixth grades civil service positions, teachers and teacher training centers’ cadres’ positions.

– Systematically overhaul teacher recruitment
 PROGRESS: –  Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The recruitment process for teachers was overhauled and mass recruitment is currently underway to fill 17,700 teacher positions and grade 5 and 6 civil servant positions around all 34 provinces of the country. Around 280,000 people have applied, of which 225,670 applicants were eligible to take the tests. The examination phase of the recruitments completed in all 33 provinces, with Kabul to be completed early next year. As of May 2018, the results of the recruitment process had been announced for 20 provinces on the IARCSC web portal and the Ministry of Higher Education website. The results of the exam in other provinces will also be released soon.
  • The reformed recruitment process includes the following steps: assessment and identification of vacant posts, announcing and publicizing vacant posts, initiate examination and recruitment process.
4. Prosecute the corrupt
– Identify and revise as needed laws related to anti-corruption
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The Anti-Corruption Law was amended by the Legislative Affairs Institute of the Ministry of Justice and was discussed at a Cabinet meeting on September 5, 2018. It is being amended by the Ministry of Justice, under the supervision of the Second Vice-President, in the light of the Cabinet’s corrective comments.
  • Over the past three years, the government has drafted, scrutinized and finalized over 300 legislative documents Many of these are related to anti-corruption, including the following:
    • The Law of Structure and Jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s office was amended, which also established the creation of the deputy attorney general for anti-corruption.
    • The Access to Information law was passed.
    • The Whistle Blower Act and Law on the Procedure of Publication and Enforcement of Legislative Documents were approved by the Cabinet on September, 2018.
    • The law on administrative courts was designed to resolve disputes between state institutions and citizens when litigation arises as a result of administrative decisions of government officials.
    • The Law on the Declaration and Registration of Assets of State Officials and Employees was passed, which requires high government officials and employees, and members of Parliament and provincial councils, to declare their assets.
    • The new Penal Code, published in February 2018, complements the Assets Declaration Law by criminalizing the submission of false or misleading asset declarations, for which fines of 30,000 to 180,000 AFN may be imposed.
    • In 2017, the government amended the Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime to establish better coordination between government bodies that are working to prevent money laundering and access to illicit funds.
    • The Expropriation Law was passed in 2017 to address expropriation of land, the obligations of expropriator institutions, and valuation of and limitations on expropriated lands.
    • The Ministry of Agriculture and the Independent Land Authority of Afghanistan (ARAZI) drafted the Law on Managing Land Affairs, which addresses issues such as land acquisition, distribution, maintenance, and management, as well as standardization and transparency processes. The law was passed in 2017, aiming to reduce the number of disputes and provide clarification for the swift resolution of future cases. This law allowed for the creation of the Land Information Bank, an electronic bank where state and public properties are registered. As of October 2018, a total of 240,000 hectares of state-owned land in 28 provinces of the country had been accounted for, and 60% of that land registered into the Land Information Bank with further registration on-going allowing the government to more effectively account for and utilize state-owned land. As of October 2018, 500,000 jeribs of illegally grabbed land in 30 provinces had been repossessed by the government, and 18,823 land grabbers identified to the judiciary.
    • A number of human and gender rights laws have also been proposed and passed in the past couple of years, namely the Prevention of Torture law, a law to protect the rights of children, the anti-harassment law, and the anti-human trafficking law.

– Create internal justice sector Appointment Commissions to oversee appointments and prevent the interference of others, including executive branch and legislative branch, in the affairs of the justice sector
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • An internal Appointments Commission was created and all prosecutors were required to be revetted and retested to assure their knowledge of the law and qualifications. 223 judges have been appointed or transferred by the High Committee of Judicial Appointments and 225 administrative staff have been appointed or transferred by the High Committee of Administrative Appointments.  

– Complete the human resource review and execute the action plan to increase the capacity of judges and prosecutors to handle corruption cases, including training law clerks for all courts, in line with the new penal code;
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • Human resource review of the justice sector has been completed and the action plan is being implement.  All those who have studied in law and sharia have been transferred from administrative positions to professional positions after attending the judicial {Setazh-e Qazai-e} training program. Heads of central and provincial offices have been changed. Young professionals have been recruited in order to rejuvenate the administration, 2,082 attorneys are currently working with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). In 2017, anti-corruption reforms within the AGO led to: the dismissal of 19 attorneys in 2017; early retirement of 127; disciplinary action taken against 12 attorneys. In 2017, 221 attorneys and 105 administrative staff were hired through a competitive, merit-based recruitment process, including 29 female staff were recruited. In 2018, another 80 female interns were hired.
  • Prosecutors now all have a bachelors-level or masters-level degree in law or sharia. 120 prosecutors have been introduced to universities to complete their masters studies at a 50% reduced cost. Salaries of prosecutors were reviewed and doubled to discourage corruption.The training of law clerks is underway. The Attorney General’s Office oversees training programs for the training of prosecutors, in its new five-year strategic plan and for this purpose, the directorate of vocational trainings has been established within the structure of the Attorney General’s Office, which will provide 57 rounds of educational programs for prosecutors until the end of the current fiscal year.
  • 3,569 cases of administrative corruption were addressed across the county in 1396, the majority of these cases relate to misuse of authority, and abuse of office. Over 60% of the cases were processed in the Military Prosecution Anti-Corruption Unit.
  • Judicial officials, including law clerks, were trained trained on the application of the new Penal Code, including the main differences between the new Code and the 1976 Code and delivering tailored training on specialized topics. The Supreme Court has also undertaken efforts to cut corruption from the ranks and increase proficiency in judges, with a nationwide training program on-going to train 2,200 judges. So far, 659 judges have been replaced, 34 provincial judges have been replaced, and 135 appellate court judges have been replaced.

– Consolidate all anti-corruption bodies except the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption and Evaluation Committee (MEC) under the office of the Attorney General
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • On 3 March 2018, amendments to the Attorney General’s Law were endorsed by Legislative Presidential Decree, which allowed for the establishment of the office of the Attorney General for Anti-Corruption, as well as the repealing of the Law on Monitoring the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy, and the dissolution of the High Office of Oversight of Anti-Corruption (HOOAC), in order to decrease duplication of efforts and consolidate monitoring of anti-corruption efforts.

– Create a new Deputy Attorney General for Anti-Corruption
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • In May 2018, the new deputy Attorney General for Anti-Corruption was appointed. Mr. Alef Irfani previously served as the former Chief Prosecutor for the Anti-Corruption Justice Center.

– Reform the offices of Taqnin [Legislative Drafting], Huquq [Legal Affairs], and Qaza-e Dowlat [Government Cases] in the Ministry of Justice
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Law on the procedure, publication and execution of legislative acts related to the activities of the chairman of the legislature has been reviewed, revised, and approved by. The Cabinet on September 3, 2018, in order to provide public participation in the legislative process and to increase transparency and accountability
  • A Joint Committee was established for the coordination between the Directorate General of Law and Related Organizations (Courts, government cases, attorney and other relevant government organizations) to comply with court rulings as soon as possible; strengthening the civil cases management in department of law; preparing an executive procedure for department of law employees; evaluating the capacity of 110 professional employees of the departments of law; government procedures and legal aids under the surveillance of the  Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) and in order to perform appropriately; capacity building of 23 employees of the government issues in handling and resolving legal disputes, strengthening the rule of law, supplying justice and legal protection of the public interest and rights of others; introducing 7 person to the General Attorney for prosecution.
  • 94 employees of the Ministry of Justice participated in the Legislative training program, held by the Department of Study, Description and Training of Laws of the Legislative Institute and 23 employees of Department of Government Cases have been trained in legal dispute resolution, rule of law, the provision of justice and legal and sharia-based defense of public interests and rights.
  • The professional capacity of 522 staff in the Ministry of Justice’s Huquq, Government Cases and Legal Aid Departments, have been evaluated in cooperation with the Civil Service Commission.

– Advance the extradition and prosecution of convicted criminals living abroad through international agreements
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • Attorney General Farid Hamidi has signed an agreement with Tajikistan and Iran on extradition of offenders. So far, 617 persons from Iran and 400 persons from Tajikistan have been extradited. An agreement has been signed with the UAE but has not been implemented yet. The Attorney General is also working on signing extradition agreements with Russia, Turkey and Pakistan.
  • The Transnational Crime Investigations Directorate for International Crimes has been established inside the Attorney General and its chairman also has been appointed and commenced work. The directorate has cooperation with a number of countries in the area of combating drug crimes, money laundering crimes and terroristic crimes.
  • Based on presidential decree No.863 on February 17, 2018, the assets recovery office has been established inside the Attorney General’s Office, and has been active since May 22. The Directorate for the Recovery of Illegal Assets has been established within the Attorney General’s Office.

– All cases identified by the 2013 Shafafiat [Transparency] taskforce will be reviewed by the Attorney General for follow-up action
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • A Coordination Committee has been established to follow up corruption cases in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) structure with the participation of General Directorate of Military Appellate Prosecution and Directorate of Plan and Policy. The total number of warrants issues is 127. Of that number, 20 people have been arrested, the details of 4 people outside of the country have been shared with Interpol, 38 will be arrested in the coming weeks, one person is deceased, and 53 cases are under investigation.

– Ensure that all provinces have qualified prosecutors and introduce at least 50 prosecutors into secure districts
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The prosecutor’s office has hired 200 prosecutors over the first part of 2018. 52 new prosecutors are deployed in 34 different districts. For those districts that are too insecure, district prosecutors practice from the provincial center. This will increase the access of people to justice and prosecution services in the provinces.

– Expand legal aid services, including through budget-based financing to civil society providers
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association requires lawyers to take on a certain number of pro-bono cases. The Attorney General’s Office surveyed prosecutors regarding what resources they need in order to take on more cases, which were then incorporated into the budget. 58 lawyers are currently providing pro-bono services on 928 cases of violence against women, with 328 cases completed. Over the past six months, the Ministry of Justice’s legal aid department was able to provide legal assistance to more than 5,293 suspected and accused people throughout the country. There has been a dramatic increase in providing legal aid assistance.

– Integrate regular media briefings and engagements to increase public awareness of and support for the process
 PROGRESS: – Achieved. 
  • The Attorney General’s Office has Implemented a new media and public relations policy, and created an internal Media Access Commission. Attorney General Farid Hamidi sets aside Mondays as an open-door day for Afghan citizens to meet with him.
5. Follow the money to make funding flows transparent, traceable, and subject to audit under a national charter of accounts
– Implementing the Financial Performance Improvement Program (i.e. budget reform roadmap) by 2019/20
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Finance Performance Improvement Program (FPIP) has been implemented according to schedule throughout 2017 and 2018. Achievements in the FPIP roll out included:
    • The Performance Manager Team (PMT), responsible for FPIP implementation, has expanded, adding 36 more teams, with total number of PMT teams now reaching 96. This is an overachievement of the target of 80 teams.
    • FPIP has been rolled out to the Supreme Audit Office (SAO), which is a prominent part of the Public Financial Management system.
    • Plans are in place for further roll out in the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Interior, Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Agriculture, and one Mustofiate at the subnational level. 
    • The country’s first ever fully transparent, consolidated budget (a single currency—Afghanis—including operating and development budgets by functions, economic codes, and programs) was passed by the Parliament in March 2018, completing phase one of budget reforms. Phase two of budget reforms are underway.
    • The Public Expenditure Financial Accountability (PEFA) program has been developed and areas of alignment with FPIP program have been identified.
– Revamping the Ministry of Finance Customs and Revenue department to include compulsory asset declarations, recruitment reforms, and reporting
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • •    The Ministry of Finance’s Customs and Revenue Department (CRD) is undergoing sweeping reforms. Some of the achievements include the following:
    • Afghanistan is a member of the World Customs Organization, which has prescribed standards to harmonize customs processes through its Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). Afghanistan received membership into the World Trade Organization in 2016, which requires that the country fulfill all the necessary obligations as set out in the various trade negotiations. These international memberships help guide Afghanistan’s internal reforms in the Afghanistan Customs Department (ACD).
    • The Arusha Declaration of the World Customs Organization was signed by the Minister of Finance on January 16, 2017. The General Directorate of Customs prepared an action plan for 2017-19 to implement Arusha commitments, which are also tired directly to reforms efforts in Customs. Substantial progress has been made in fulfilling commitments, including: improving the organizational structure of Internal Compliance Department,  develop an instruction manual for importing goods, implement and publish guidelines for importing goods, reporting on shortages in control over ports, completed a risk assessment in 10 provinces and 5 central departments, prepared a code of conduct for the custom departments and procedures for capacity-building and awareness.
    • Asset registration is on-going.
    • The Customer Service Center of the Afghanistan Customs Department (ACD) was inaugurated to automate and digitize correspondence and to provide better facilities for customs clients.
    • An increase in revenue collection in 2017 in the Customs department led to improvement in fiscal sustainability indicator, up to 66.9% in 2017  from 56.3 percent in 2016. Customs duties and taxes collected accounted for 43.57% of the revenue for 2017.
    • To fulfill its obligations under the WTO agreement to simplify and harmonize international trade procedures the ACD is implementing the international standard customs IT system, ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data). It has been expanded to to all the Customs offices which contribute to 99 % of the overall revenue, and six new modules have been implemented.
    • To enhance Customs-to-Customs (C2C) cooperation, including data exchange, the ACD has developed and finalized 14 data exchange agreements with international countries and secured a position for the first Afghan technical attaché to be appointed to the World Customs Organization.
    • Another key achievement has been the development of HR procedures and guidelines, part of implementation of the Human Resource (HR) Reform policy. Short and long-term capacity building programs were conducted for 305 employees and the Customs and Tax Academy has hosted three rounds of four-month long courses for staff. The development of legal instruments and Customs documents is underway, 19 procedures, policies and Terms of References finalized.
    • Progress has been made to standardize Customs tariffs in alignment with the WTO tariff standards and in support of local industries. Tariff adjustments for 450 commodities have been put in place. An analysis of raw materials for 33 companies and factories was conducted. The tariff rate decreased to 1 percent for the commodities used solely for reproduction purposes, and to 2.5 percent for the commodities that can be used either as a final product or raw material.
    • An analysis of declaration was completed, and 129 risk management profiles, and an additional collection of 142.72 million Afghanis in revenue.
    • The Internal Clearance Depots (ICDs) and the Border Control Posts (BCPs) have been brought together following a survey. Nine out of 12 ports have been transferred from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to the Ministry of Finance (ACD) and nine scales located in the ports have been transferred from the Ministry of Public Works to the Ministry of Finance (ACD).

– Simplifying and automating key revenue (tax) processes
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • •    In April 2018, Afghanistan gained membership to the Addis Tax Initiative, a key part of helping to establish transparent, fair and efficient tax systems.
  • •    In November 2018, amendments to the Tax Administration law were made that favor taxpayers, including a decrease in late payment, late filing, and tax evasion penalties.
  • •    The Afghanistan Revenue Department (ARD), housed within the Ministry of Finance, is responsible for the administration and collection of tax and non-tax revenue, and has implemented a number of revenue and tax collection reforms to simplify and automate processes:
    • The SIGTAS (Standard Integrated Government Tax Administration System) automated tax collection system is now being implemented within the ARD at all points where taxes are collected in Kabul, as well as in Herat, Balkh, Kandahar, Kunduz and Nangarhar.
    • The ARD launched a fast-track filing system for the Large Tax Payers office in August 2017 in order to expedite filing and cut out three in-person visits that were previously required to file taxes. This system is a modified version of an official e-filing system, which is pending until the endorsement of an e-governance law in the country. The National Large Taxpayer Office Strategic Implementation has been launched.
    • E-forms have been launched for all medium and small taxpayers, which can be accessed and downloaded from the ARD website. To utilize the system, taxpayers must acquire a Tax Identification Number (TIN) to file Corporate Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Withholding Taxes, Fixed Taxes, Business Receipt Tax and other taxes.
    • The procedure for issuing the tax clearance certificate, which is needed for the renewal of business licenses, has also been simplified and tax clearance can be obtained much quicker than in previous years.
    • To address backlogged taxes and lack of awareness on how to pay taxes, the Ministry of Finance addressed this issue in consultation with Parliament and reached a solution to implement a temporary amnesty on penalties, which was introduced in last year’s budget. Under the amnesty initiative, all backlogged tax penalties were exempted to 95%, so tax payers who had outstanding liabilities and accumulated penalties could clear them by paying just 5% of accumulated penalties, in addition to the principal amount of tax originally owed. The initiative is still ongoing and taxpayers have 9 months in total starting with the current fiscal year to take advantage of this amnesty.
    • The ARD has taken steps to improve customer services. The Large, Medium and Small Taxpayers Offices all include customer service centers. A complaints and questions hotline was established, so taxpayers can get their questions answered by calling ‘1000.’ 
    • Legislative and policy reforms include the following:
    • The late payment penalty was 0.10% per day, which has now been reduced to 0.05 % per day, a 50% cut in the penalty.
    • The Tax Administration law and Income Tax law have both been amended. These legislative amendments include among others the creation of a Tax Disputes Resolution Board, an independent body of government and private sector experts to hear complaints and appeals from taxpayers before having to go to the courts. The income tax law is currently with Parliament for approval and the Tax Adminstration Law has been approved by the Parliament and signed by the President.
    • In 2017, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice in coordination with the Supreme Court, established a Tax-specific code, which allows for the establishment of special courts to resolve tax-related issues. The code was enacted last year and the special court has now been operating for the last six months. To date, 13 cases have been referred to the special court, of which 4 cases have been decided and 9 are in process.
    • The Value Added Tax law, which replaces the Business Receipt Tax, has been approved and will start implementation in December 2020.
  • Work is underway to consolidate all public services underneath one roof via the Asan Khedmat public service delivery programs, including tax collection.

– Strengthening the Supreme Audit Office through a revision to the Supreme Audit Law
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • •    The Supreme Audit Law was revised and strengthened by including an enforcement mechanism added to strengthen the audit law.
  • •    Though funding is pending to proceed with further staff training programs, work continues to build professional capacity within the Supreme Audit Office (SAO), including:
    • Three SAO staff members have completed the online course for anti-corruption. Further trainees have been identified but funding is pending
    • SAO has prepared a proposal for the establishment of an audit academy, pending MoF approval
    • 13 auditors are pursuing BA degrees; 22 auditors have completed MA degrees and 6 auditors are working on MA degrees.

– Strengthen the internal audit offices of line ministries
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The audit capacity building program is run by the Internal Audit Department (IAD) of the Ministry of Finance and significant progress has been made in establishing functioning internal audit units in ministries where Public Financial Management reforms are being rolled out, including:
    • The Internal Audit Department (IAD) has conducted a number of capacity development trainings and professional certification programs for over 565 auditors from line ministries in 2017. Training have been on budget, fraud investigation, risk-based auditing, specialized training on customs and information system auditing, among others, for multiple government institutions, including Minister of Finance, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Higher Education, Independent Directorate of Local Governance, and the Central Aviation Agency. 150 personnel have received academic support, including BA and MA scholarships.
    • Performance audits have been completed for five ministries, namely the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Counter-Narcotics, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Economy, and Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
    • Audit recommendations have been made to four ministries, which have implemented most of the recommendations: The Ministry of Transportation has implemented 93 % of audit recommendations; Ministry of Communication and Technology has implemented 99.8 , the Ministry of Higher Education has implemented 99 percent, and the Ministry of Finance has implemented 34 percent.

– Training 200 internal auditors at key security, expenditure and revenue ministries
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Supreme Audit Office has recruited 54 new professional auditors. Further recruitment is on-going.

– Applying the new Accounting Law to all public agencies
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Professional Accountants Law was enacted in March 2017, as a result of a legislative order by the President and was approved by both Houses. The new law requires all those providing auditing services to be licensed by the Certified Professional Accountants of Afghanistan Institution (CPAAI), which operates under the authority of the General Directorate of the Treasury to ensure adherence to international standards. The CPAAI drafted regulations to assist in implementation of the law. The CPAAI’s work to ensure the law is fully implemented across government is on-going.

– Identifying and revising relevant laws to advance financial transparency;
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
The following laws have been identified and revised:
  • The Customs’ Law and Public Property Law are being revised in 2018.
  • Amendments to the Corporate and Personal Income Law were approved by the Cabinet, which addressed weaknesses in the law concerning tax efficiency, equity, and incentives for compliance.
  • •    Amendments to the Tax Administration Law were approved by the Cabinet to address private sector concerns regarding tax filing and payment, and to include provisions in line with international good practice.
  • Amendments to the Public Finance Management (PFM) Law were approved by the Cabinet, which aims to involve sub-national authorities in the budgeting process.
  • The Asset Declaration Law passed September 2017, ensuring that all high-ranking officials and government employees declare their assets.
  • The new Penal Code complements the Assets Declaration Law by criminalizing the submission of false or misleading asset declarations.
  • The Land Tax Law is being developed and will be presented to the Ministry of Justice in December 2018. This law will replace the Property Tax Law.
  • Revision to the Property Tax Law have been initiated and are underway.
  • The Bankruptcy Law has been drafted and is under review.

– Using anti-money laundering tools to detect, trace, and confiscate the proceeds of corruption
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • •    The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Afghanistan (FinTRACA), housed at the Central Bank, is responsible for overseeing anti-money laundering. Read the full 2017 FinTRACA report here. The following are highlights achieved by the FinTRACA:
    • Much progress has been made in implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, which resulted in Afghanistan being removed from the list of countries perceived to be non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, on June 23, 2017. Afghanistan was then able to join the world’s banking system.
    • The Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Responsibilities and Preventative Measures Regulation has been revised, approved, and published on the Central Bank’s website. A review is on-going of the AML/CFT procedures of banks and other financial entities across the country. The national risk assessment for AML/CFT is on-going.
    • The Cross-border Transactions regulations and guidelines has been published.
    • As a result of revised legislation, the Anti-Corruption Justice Center made two money laundering convictions and five terrorist financing convictions in 2017. Additionally, 20 investigations and 6 prosecutions commenced.
    • A multi-agency working group has been established to set up a public central registry of beneficial ownership, to ensure implementation of Afghan law requiring financial institutions collect and share information on beneficial ownership.
    • In 2017, FinTRACA approved the dissemination of 28 operational and strategic analyses to the Attorney General’s Office and other law enforcement agencies, a 7 increase compared to 2016. Money laundering, terrorist financing, wire fraud, and tax evasion were the main offenses dispatched for further investigation.
    • FinTRACA responded to 166 requests for information, a 24% increase compared to 2016 and a 92% response rate.
    • FinTRACA has signed 16 memorandums of understanding with international counterparts over the past couple of years. Under this framework, FinTRACA exchanged information about 132 subjects included in 33 international requests.
    • In 2017, FinTRACA established the country’s first Watch List, a database of high-risk individuals. 193 persons are designated in the Watch List.
    • FinTRACA enforced and recovered 7.3 million Afghanis in financial fines on banking institutions and money service providers, and measured the freezing order of 91 bank accounts, suspended or revoked the business licenses of 33 money service providers (MSPs), and disseminated analyses of unlicensed MSPs in 7 provinces.
    • In compliance with the UNSCR 1267 and 1988 sanctions, Afghanistan issued the standing freezing order, and established the UNSCR database in local languages. During 2017, 23 automated notifications were immediately released to relevant law enforcement agencies, public and private sector bodies.
    • FinTRACA conducted on-the-job training to customs, police, and border officials at Torkham, Spin-Boldak, Torghondi, and Islam Qala border crossing points. In 2017, FinTRACA received online access to Custom’s declaration database and received 2,384 declaration forms. 14 cash seizure cases were reported by Afghanistan’s Customs Department. Investigations of 4 cases were completed in 2017 and cash fines imposed. UNODC is assisting in improving the mechanism for anti-money laundering at border crossings, which are a focus of 2018.
    • Public awareness programs have been conducted throughout the country in 2017 for 200 traders on Customs appeal process, money laundering, brokers’ affairs, Customs core decisions and PCA processes.

– Licensing auditors and accounting firms
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The Professional Accountants Law was enacted in March 2017, as a result of a legislative order by the President and was approved by both Houses. The new law requires all those providing auditing services to be licensed by the Certified Professional Accountants of Afghanistan Institution (CPAAI), which operates under the authority of the General Directorate of the Treasury to ensure adherence to international standards. The CPAAI drafted regulations to assist in implementation of the law. The CPAAI’s work to ensure the law is fully implemented across government is on-going.
  • All individuals and companies who practice accountancy and provide auditing services are required to obtain their license from the CPAAI. The Certified Professional Accountants of Afghanistan Institution (CPAAI) started registering individual auditors and accounting firms since May 2018. After completion of registration, the issuing of licenses will started.

– Moving the Financial Crimes Taskforce to the Attorney General’s Office;
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • A committee was formed under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, with the participation of the Office of the Attorney General, to examine the transfer of the Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Center of Afghanistan (FinTRACA).The ommittee conducted a review and submitted its report to the President. It was decided that the task is completed and there is no need for the transfer of FinTRACA to the Office of Attorney General.

– Publishing annual budget plans and expenditure reports
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
•    All national annual budget plans and expenditure reports are published on the Ministry of Finance’s website at this link.

– Publishing all elements of procurement and audit not explicitly excluded by national security considerations on ministry website
 PROGRESS: – Achieved.
  • The National Procurement Authority requires all offices to use the Afghanistan Contract Progress Monitoring System (ACPMS), which provides information about contracts. Over 1000 sectoral contracts have been published with an 81.1 % publication rate in all sectors, including infrastructure and natural resources, security, education, agriculture, economy, rule of law, good governance and healthcare. As of August 2018, the NPA has made decisions on 2,918 contracts, saved 50 billion Afghanis from corruption, and barred 139 corrupt companies from bidding for national projects.
  • The mining law, approved by the Cabinet on September 4, 2018, allows for the publication of full texts of contracts.

– Expanding the use of electronic payments and record keeping as rapidly as possible
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • The following actions have been taken to expand the use of e-payments and record keeping. Currently, 25% of government staff receive payments electronically, with plans to increase that to 80% by mid 2019:
    • The Electronic National ID card registration was launched by the Population Registration Authority in May 2018 and is on-going.
    • Other e-registration measures taken across government include: web-based Afghanistan Financial Management Information System (AFMIS), electronic financial information management system for managing and collecting revenues from extractive activities, refugees’ information system, and the application of biometric system by the Ministry of Interior for identifying offenders.
    • Steps are being taken to automate business processes in order to enhance transparency and accountability, including implementing an e-filing system in the Afghanistan Revenue Department for tax collection.
    • Progress has been made in introducing an e-payment system for the public sector salary payment. Since May 2017, Asan Khedmat has been assigned responsibility for implementing the government’s Mobile Salary Payment (MSP) program. All employees (over 4,000) of the the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) now receive their salaries via Mobile Money (MM). The program is being extended to the Ministry of Education and subsequently to other ministries. Currently AsanKhedmat is in negotiations with the Mobile Network Operators to renew the contract for the Ministry of Labor and extend it to 7 provinces.
    • Other e-governance reforms implemented across government include: Automated Systems for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), TARIFF, electronic payments at customs, electronic payments at the Ministry of Finance, connecting the public banking system with SWIFT, and electronic systems for the issuance of work permit for foreign nationals.