Experts: legal body should be identified to investigate corruption in Wolesi Jirga

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 03:15 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 275 times

While members of Wolesi Jirga have long been accused of corruption, discussions about the issue heated up once again after Abdul Bari Jahani, the former Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed a shocking story of corruption involving lawmakers in a post. Following the claim, the call for investigation into corruption in Wolesi Jirga has been renewed, with European Union calling on the government to probe into the issue. 

 

Calling the investigation of corruption in Wolesi Jirga difficult, a number of analysts argue that the Law on Privileges for Lawmakers has somehow cleared the way for corruption, and that some lawmakers exploit it to solicit money from ministers, get projects from ministries, and a share from project implementers. 

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political expert, alleged that corruption in Wolesi Jirga has become as common as parliamentarians see getting money from ministers in return for giving them a trust vote as their right. “The majority of lawmakers are involved in corruption; they illegally get projects for themselves and their companies, and even receive money from project implementers in their own provinces.”

Because of the Law on Privileges for Lawmakers, and the existence of Wolesi Jirga’s Commission of Privileges and Impunity were the main factors based on which the lawmakers viewed corruption as a legal business, Haqyar believed, adding that if a lawmaker committed a crime, corruption or any other violation of laws, the law required a court to refer the issue to the president who then could issue an arrest warrant of the culprit, a process which makes the trial of legislators a difficult task.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has also been working on investigative report on corruption allegations in Wolesi Jirga, which will determine the estimated extent of corruption there; however, Sayed Akram Afzali, the head of IWA did not reveal the details to The Heart of Asia. 

Kabir Ranjbar, a political expert, said as long as there was no legal entity to launch investigation into the allegations of corruption in Wolesi Jirga, the provision of any evidence was ineffective. “There is no doubt about the existence of corruption in Wolesi aJirga, but a special team should investigate the issue.” According to Ranjbar, a special team composed of government officials, representatives of international organizations, and the scrupulous members of Wolesi Jirga should probe into the claims. 

Meanwhile, some lawmakers reject the corruption allegations as baseless, and ask for concrete evidence to support the claims, but the analysts believe that even if evidence is provided, its evaluation will require a long time. 

Nonetheless, a number of lawmakers like Ramazan Bashardost reason that if members of Wolesi Jirga had not been involved in corruption, they would have not given a confidence vote to the corrupt ministers. 

Despite several attempts, we could not get through to the Presidential Palace for a comment on the issue. 

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 03:25