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Afghanistan: Very high risk of corruption in defence, but results better than expected – Transparency International — Press Release

February 14, 2013 by
Filed under: Business Line, Companies, Countries, crime, Events, Press Releases 

Afghanistan: Very high risk of corruption in defence, but results better than expected.

Kabul, 14th February 2013 – Afghanistan leaves the door open to waste, impunity, and endangers troops and citizens, because it lacks strong anti-corruption systems in the defence and security sector, according to the first of its kind Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI). This new study by Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme measures how governments prevent and counter corruption in defence.

The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI) analyses what 82 countries do to reduce corruption risk. These countries accounted for 94 per cent (USD 1.6 trillion) of the global military expenditure in 2011. Countries are scored in bands from very low risk (A) to critical risk (F) according to detailed assessment across 77 indicators that cover five prominent risk areas in the sector: politics, finance, personnel, operations, and procurement.

“Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful, and the cost is paid by citizens, soldiers and governments. Our study suggests that the corruption problem is pervasive in defence around the world, with a significant proportion of this spending at risk. Worse, high levels of defence corruption lead to impunity and public mistrust.” explains Mark Pyman, Director of Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme.

Afghanistan was placed in Band E, which reflects very high risk of corruption in defence and security. The defence sector was found to have several serious problems including widespread petty bribery, corruption problems in recruitment and promotions, and lack of transparency. The Index shows defence procurement to be the area with the highest corruption risk and addressing this risk needs to be a top priority. “As responsibility for defence purchases spending shifts from the ISAF coalition to the Ministry of Defence, Afghan MOD spending will increase hugely; this will put much greater stress on their procurement system, with many more corruption opportunities” warns Pyman.

“Corruption in the Afghan defence has devastating effects in the context of transition. It erodes the confidence of the Afghan citizens and political circles about the ability of the Afghan security forces to ensure future security of the country. In addition, waste in Afghan defence can potentially take away the resources from development and poverty reduction programmes” says Yama Torabi, Executive Director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

Yet there were several positive features of the Afghan defence sector, such as the establishment of a Military Anti-Corruption Unit inside the Ministry of Defence, which has the remit of rooting out corruption in the sector, and the willingness of Defence Ministry and military leaders to analyse and follow up their corruption risks.

“Whilst Afghanistan is performing very poorly in general corruption indices, the Afghan Defence Ministry and the Afghan military are performing better than the government as a whole, and certainly much better than the nine nations who scored in band F (Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, Yemen)” explains Oliver Cover, principal author of the report. The index is to be repeated in two years, so any such improvement will be measured and tracked.

Transparency International-UK calls on the Afghan government to prioritise integrity and anti-corruption reforms in Defence, in Security and in the Police, given how important these sectors are for the security of the country.

Transparency International-UK estimates the global cost of corruption in the defence sector to be a minimum of USD 20 billion per year, based on data from the World Bank and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This equates to the total sum pledged by the G8 in 2009 to fight world hunger.

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