The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) on Sunday reported that the allegations levelled against former members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) are of a critical nature and that the AGO has tasked a committee to tackle the allegations urgently.
Meanwhile, the IEC announced that the final results of parliamentary elections for the remaining fifteen provinces will not be announced until the appointment of new IEC commissioners.
This comes a week after all commissioners from the two electoral bodies – the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) – were dismissed from their posts, including the two chiefs, after President Ashraf Ghani signed off on an amendment to the electoral law.
Ghani approved the amendment on Tuesday, which resulted in the instant dismissal of the commissioners – including IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad and IECC Aziz Azizullah Aryayee.
“A comprehensive and inclusive plan has been prepared for the issue. The task team will move its investigation plan step by step according to the plan. Whenever the task team considers it necessary, they will investigate the commissioners and head of the commissions,” said AGO spokesman Jamshid Rasuli.
Following the dismissals, head of IEC secretariat Ahmad Shah Zamanzai took over as interim chief.
“All technical work is being run by the secretariat. Final results of other provinces will be announced once members of the election commission are announced,” said IEC deputy spokesman Zabiullah Sadat.
But, election observers have said that Zamanzai was also accused of having a role in corruption.
“Those in the leadership of the election commissions, particularly the election commission (secretariat) are accused of major corruption, but the commissions have been handed over to them,” said Sughra Saadat, spokesperson for Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA).
However, most of the IEC’s work has ground to a halt following the dismissals.
“There are some legal issues on which members of the commission are supposed to take a decision about, but these issues are stopped now, but the technical work moves forward,” said Sayed Ebrahim Sadat, head of IEC’s IT department.
Discussions and consultations over the draft amendment started earlier this month and was unanimously endorsed by all groups – before being approved by Ghani’s cabinet last week.
This move came amid ongoing criticism leveled at the commissioners who have still not released the final results for October’s parliamentary elections for 15 provinces.
The Attorney General's Office (AGO) meanwhile also imposed a travel ban on the former election commissioners, just hours after their dismissal.
The commissioners – 12 in total - were appointed to the posts in November 2016 as part of government’s efforts to ensure transparent and fair parliamentary elections.