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Taking into consideration the importance of combating corruption for stability and the sustainable development of Afghanistan and recognizing the inability of existing institutions to deliver, H.E. President Karzai in July 2008, issued a Decree establishing a High Office for Oversight and Anti-corruption (HOOAC). This law has been enacted in the light of the provisions of Article (7), item (3) of Article (75) and Article (142) of the Afghanistan Constitution and in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption in order to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the Anti- Corruption Strategy. The creation of this Office has fulfilled the requirement of Article 6 of the UN Convention against Corruption.
The High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption (HOOAC) is the highest office for the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and for the implementation of administrative procedural reform in the country. This office shall be independent in carrying out its duties and shall be reporting to the President.
Since corruption is a major cross-cutting issue, the urgent need to have a high-level inter-institutional oversight of the anti-corruption effort was understood, as there was insufficient coordination of efforts and no one existing agency could take the lead on all parts of the agenda. Considering this complex scenario, the HOOAC has been mandated with a unifying oversight function to coordinate, supervise and support all anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. The HOOAC shall be the focal point for overseeing policy development and implementation of anti corruption strategies. The HOOAC will strive to bring agencies together rather than competing with them.
Even though detection and punishment of corruption and other malpractices are certainly important elements of the anti corruption strategy, what is even more important is the need for taking preventive measures, which will result in considerable reduction in the number of corruption cases. The number of corruption cases detected and investigated cannot alone indicate the extent of corruption in a country. In fact, a corruption case arises only when there has been failure of preventive mechanisms. While previously the emphasis has been put primarily on enforcement which is certainly important, the establishment of the HOOAC entails the much needed effort to fight corruption through coordination, prevention and awareness-raising – key elements to any successful approach to fighting corruption.
The establishment of the HOOAC signifies to some extent a shift in focus of the Government from curbing existing corruption towards deterring and ultimately preventing corruption with a sound governance framework. Pursuing individual corruption cases can help in sending a signal of the Government’s commitment to fight corruption (as long as there is no perceived political, ethnic, or other systematic bias). However, for sustained progress over the medium term, proper functioning of institutions and systems is essential. Accordingly, one of the foremost objectives of the new office is to develop infrastructure for preventive efforts to ensure that government institutions, systems, and processes are working well enough to minimize vulnerabilities to corruption.
The HOOAC as an independent budgetary unit consists of Director General, Deputy/Deputies, central and regional directors, and professional and administrative members. The President shall appoint the Director General of the HOOAC. Other staff of this office shall be appointed according to the law. The HOOAC shall implement its budget independently in accordance with the relevant laws.
Overview of Central Office Structure: Director General
First Deputy Director General (Policy and Oversight)
Deputy Director General (Administrative Affairs)