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MPs urge Ahmadzai to name ‘clean’ Cabinet

MPs urge Ahmadzai to name ‘clean’ Cabinet

KABUL: Hailing recent measures by the new government, a number of Wolesi Jirga members on Saturday asked President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai not to appoint graft-tainted former officials and ministers as members of the new Cabinet.

The lower house members stressed Ahmadzai should announce the new Cabinet soon, and that for the sake of good governance the cabinet should be comprised of individuals who had not been involved in any form of corruption.

MP Syed Hussain Nasiri said the government’s recent decisions against corruption were important and all Afghans should support efforts at eliminating the menace.

“Corrupt people cannot help fight corruption. Individuals who are not involved in corruption should be chosen as members of the new Council of Ministers,” Nasiri said.

His colleague, Behishti Fakori, held similar views. He urged Ahmadzai to uphold merit while naming his cabinet members.

The Presidential palace had said new ministers would be introduced within a month on the basis of their qualifications. Former ministers are currently serving in acting capacity.

Another lawmake,r Shekiba Hashimi, said the new government should investigate the Kabul Bank scandal and bring those involved to justice.

During his first days in office, President Ahmadzai issued a decree directing the relevant authorities to immediately reopen the Kabul bank case and return assets. Two individuals have been since then arrested and a search for the remaining individuals involved is underway.

Once the country’s largest private lender, the bank plunged into a deep financial crisis in 2009, when it lost $835 million in fraudulent property deals, massive off-book loans, and credit to fake corporations, prompting the government to take over the bank’s affairs.

Obaidullah Ramin, who represents northern Baghlan province, said the new government should first delineate the fundamental policies of the state for approval by parliament before introducing ministers for a vote of confidence.

He said currently there were 25 ministries and the number should be cut down to 14 or 15 ministries because most performed similar activities or responsibilities.

Another lawmaker, Abdul Wadud Paiman, called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a major source of corruption.

He said 4,000 NGOs operated in the country and most of them were involved in corruption and looting people’s money in a variety of ways. “Corruption would not be eliminated until NGOs [no longer] exist,” he said.

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