The failure to proceed with a reform policy within the Ministry of Finance in recent years has paved the way for corruption and embezzlement of national revenues in the entity, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) said on Tuesday.
According to the IWA, the Ministry of Finance has been changed into a politicized entity where there are no incentives to prioritize national interests ahead of the interests of the ruling elites.
In the meantime, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament have said that the hasty reshuffling of people within the structure of the Ministry of Finance has also paved the way for corruption in the body.
This follows a recent decision by President Ashraf Ghani in which he imposed a travel ban on 68 employees of the Finance Ministry, but Ghani’s order raised questions about whether or not the Afghan president has the right to do so.
Later on, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament criticized order by Ghani to impose the ban, calling it "political."
Ghani listed names from the Ministry of Finance and officers of the customs departments for alleged involvement in corruption, but critics said the move was not about fighting corruption but just a staffing shakeup serving to further benefit Ghani's agenda.
“Over the past two decades, the Ministry of Finance is mostly considered a source of income; this ministry has been politicized,” said Sayed Ekram Afzali, the head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA).
“Whenever the deputy heads of customs are appointed, they then appoint people according to their own desire. There is no transparent system,” said Azim Mohseni, a member of parliament.
“The travel ban on 68 officials of the Ministry of finance has created lots of doubts about corruption in the Finance Ministry and this is perilous for Afghanistan’s financial system,” said Abdul Qader Jailani, a former spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.
Economic experts have said that the corruption in the money-generating entities has reached its peak, including in the Ministry of Finance.