April 24, 2015 / 12:57 PM / 2 years ago

Afghan president orders inquiry into unreleased U.N. police report

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani participates in "The New Beginning in Afghanistan: A Conversation with H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" at Columbia University in New York March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan’s president has ordered the interior ministry to investigate why a United Nations-funded report on corruption in the Afghan police force was ignored and take appropriate action, a copy of a directive seen by Reuters shows.

“It was the Afghan government that blew the whistle,” a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani told Reuters. “We will not tolerate any kind of corruption.”

Details of the unpublished report were first revealed by Reuters at the start of the week. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said it was reviewing its processes to improve internal oversight after the report was not shared with senior UN officials following its submission in January.

The report was produced for the UNDP-run fund that pays for Afghan police salaries and other expenses. It recommended firing senior officials for sabotaging the main system for processing complaints about misconduct in the force.

The interior ministry plans to appoint a committee to check final numbers in the report, verify who received copies and take appropriate action.

“(This) does not involve making any changes to recommendations,” the interior ministry directive states. “Any changes to recommendations are at the professional discretion of the consultant.”

The four-page directive, provided to Reuters on Thursday on condition of anonymity, states the ministry received its orders from the president’s office to investigate and take action on April 12.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said the directive, which summarizes the UNDP report, the presidential order and the ministry’s proposed response, was issued “a few days ago”.

Ghani ran on promises to clear up rampant corruption and the Law and Order Trust Fund of Afghanistan (LOTFA) has been one of his targets since taking office in September.

The controversy over the police report is the latest in a series of questions about oversight at the UNDP-run fund, which has received around $3.6 billion from foreign donors since 2002.

Last year, the U.S. watchdog for spending in Afghanistan released a series of letters alleging LOTFA had lost track of millions of dollars in payments to “ghost employees”.

In 2012, it was investigated for procurement fraud.

The police report was commissioned by the UNDP to find out why the main system for filing complaints about police misconduct, a 24-hour phone line, rarely led to prosecutions.

The author concluded senior officials were using the system to extort members of the police force and recommended firing the inspector general, Hakim Nejrabi, and all of his senior staff.

Nejrabi has denied all allegations made in the report, calling the findings “a political character assassination”.

Reporting by Jessica Donati; Editing by Alex Richardson

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