AT-KABUL: An independent anti-corruption body on Wednesday said nepotism plays a critical role in getting a job as a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee said in a report that favoritism and patronage often triumph over merit and ability in diplomatic appointments.
The committee’s executive director, Ahmad Rashed Behroz, told a press conference that such practices undermine constitutional guarantees of equality for Afghan citizens.
Behroz said officials and others with power prefer to appoint relatives to job openings. “At least 12 close relatives and friends of then and now parliamentarians are working in the MoFA. Four individuals including a sister, brother and sons of ex-ministers as well as seven relatives of high ranking officials are staffers of the ministry. And, eight others are working in key posts of the MoFA who are linked with lawmakers or a number of government officials,” he explained.
He said that 48 candidates passed tests for a number of positions in MoFA last year, but all were overlooked in favor of people who did not attend any test.
He added that 4,650 diplomatic passports have been issued to individuals who are not eligible for it, and that the passports have been used for personal purposes.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has not commented about the report so far.
The committee also unveiled embezzlement of millions of dollars in the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD).
Head of the committee, Yama Turabi, said that a mafia group was interfering in MoLSAMD affairs and has led the ministry towards inefficiency. “It is estimated that $50 to $80 million is misused in the ministry on annual basis,” he added.
He said salaries of special persons and families of martyrs are paid through a complicated process which has paved the ground for corruption and bribe.
In the meantime, the MoLSAMD confirms that there are a number of problems and hurdles in paying salaries of its workers, but says there is no document to prove embezzlement of millions of dollars in the ministry.
“We accept that there are a number of concerns but we are trying to overcome them. The MoLSAMD minister’s 100-day plan includes formation of a committee which will assess problems and hurdles in financial affairs of the ministry,” said Ali Iftikhari, the MoLSAMD spokesman.
Critics suggest that a new appointment mechanism should be established in government agencies in a bid to uproot corruption in state bodies.