Press release / May 13, 2016

Anti-corruption summit: Afghan commitments a step forward in the fight against corruption

The Afghan government has announced commitments today at the global anti-corruption summit in London which mark a major step forward in the battle against corruption, Global Witness has said. The new commitments include:

  • A public register of beneficial ownership for Afghan companies, to help prevent abusive hidden ownership of companies and contracts
  • Phased implementation of the Open Contracting data standard, strengthening transparency in government contracts
  • Enhanced disclosure of payments to governments for the sale of oil, gas and minerals, increasing transparency in a critical sector which is a significant contributor to conflict. 

Stephen Carter, the head of the Global Witness Afghanistan campaign, said:

This announcement marks a real step forward in the battle against corruption and abuses that have generated major support and funding for armed groups, deprived the Afghan state of much needed revenue and deeply undermined efforts to develop one of the poorest countries in the world. Publication of beneficial ownership in particular, if it can be fully implemented, will put Afghanistan among a growing but select group of countries at the forefront of the fight against hidden ownership. We warmly congratulate the Afghan government on its commitment, and call on its international partners to support it in turning that commitment into reality.

While it is not yet clear what the Afghan government plans as part of its commitment to enhance transparency in the mining sector, Global Witness’ key recommendations include the publication of government contracts as a condition of their validity, automatic publication of production and payment data for mining, and a single transparent account for mining revenues. Carter said:

While we hope to see further reforms building on this foundation, for example to insert transparency into the mining law and implement community monitoring of aid and of mining projects, President Ghani’s commitment today is clear evidence of a real will to act. We look forward to working with the government to support its counter-corruption efforts both in the mining sector and more widely.

/ ENDS

Notes to editor:

In addition to the measures outlined above, the Afghan government commitments at the London conference include establishing a High Council for Governance, Rule of Law and Anti­ Corruption, and new actions against money laundering. The full list of commitments can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/anti-corruption-summit-country-statements

For details of Global Witness policy recommendations on the extractives sector, see:

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/afghanistan/building-long-term/

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/afghanistan/suggested-amendments-afghan-mining-law/

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