KABUL, July 29 (Xinhua) — Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has vowed to keep high pressure on corruption as the country is preparing for a key international conference to be held later this year, Arg, the country’s Presidential Palace said in a statement on Friday.
On Thursday, Ghani chaired the first meeting of National High Council for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption held in Arg, according to the statement posted in Arg’s website.
“We witnessed a 22 percent increase in national revenue last year and we are determined to take practical steps in different areas to fight corruption before going to the Brussels Conference,” Ghani told the meeting.
The National High Council for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, which was recently formed by the government, will maintain a heavy-handed approach against corruption.
The Brussels Conference to be held in early October this year will focus on development ofAfghanistan.
Thursday’s meeting also endorsed two documents, “the terms of reference and presidential decree on establishment of the Council,” the statement noted.
Based on the terms of reference, the National High Council for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption is formed with three objectives, reforming and strengthening the judicial system based on rule of law, human rights and access to justice, according to the statement.
The second objective was amending the laws and other legal documents toward the goals of the government and the third aim of the formation of the Council was “Resolute and Comprehensive fight against all kinds of administrative corruption,” the statement said.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also spoke at the meeting, attended by senior Afghan leaders and several foreign officials, urging strong willpower and resolve in deepening the anti-graft fight.
“Government’s will to fight corruption is strong, and there is no doubt about the scrupulousness of the personalities who lead the Judiciary and Attorney General’s Office. The Judiciary and Attorney General’s Office are independent and that the government does not interfere in their work,” Abdullah told the meeting.
Ghani has underscored that “fighting corruption is not a political act and thus should not be treated arbitrarily,” the statement noted.
During the meeting, Tadamichi Yamamoto, special UN envoy and head of UN mission in the country, also welcomed establishment of the Council and assured cooperation for further effectiveness of the efforts to fight corruption.
Michael Mellbin, European Union’s special representative for Afghanistan, also praised the anti-corruption measure and said that “it shows that the government of Afghanistan is serious in fighting corruption and has adopted a good approach to that end,”
Meanwhile, some Afghan lawmakers and civil society members reportedly said that the existing anti-corruption measures have not been strict enough to serve as effective deterrents.
They said Afghanistan would not be able to achieve lasting peace and prosperity unless the government is able to eliminate or at least minimize corruption in government and non-government entities.