Afghanistan's High Office of Oversight Needs Significantly Strengthened Authority, Independence, and Donor Support to Become an Effective Anti-Corruption Institution
SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION ARLINGTON VA
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This report discusses the results of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstructions review of U.S. and other donor efforts to strengthen the capability of Afghanistans High Office of Oversight HOO to fight corruption. It includes five recommendations. This report is part of a series of audits of U.S. efforts to combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan. In addition to its own funds, the HOO has received about 1 million in assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID and is budgeted to receive a total of 7.3 million from the United Nations Development Programme UNDP. This assistance has been devoted to the institutional development of the HOO. With this assistance, the HOO has undertaken anti-corruption initiatives, with varying degrees of progress. These include a vehicle registration project and an asset declaration process for Afghan public officials. However, the HOO suffers from significant gaps in operational capacity. The HOO is greatly understaffed, and many of its employees are either inexperienced or lack basic skills, such as computer use and information gathering techniques. Moreover, the HOO enabling legislation does not invest it with sufficient authority or enforcement power and the legislation needs substantial revision. Furthermore, the HOO lacks the organizational, external, and personal independence required by international standards for an oversight institution. Finally, although the international assistance provided thus far to the HOO has been greatly valued, the U.S. government has had no office or individual specifically designated to oversee or coordinate U.S. assistance to the HOO, and U.S. overall coordination and level of demonstrated commitment of support to the HOO needs improvement.
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