| ||Lodin seeks public support for war on graft|
By Abasin Zaheer
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KABUL - High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOOAC) head Azizullah Lodin on Sunday said the fight against graft could succeed only when security problems were overcome and the general public supported the drive.
Addressing a gathering on the HOOAC’s effectiveness in Kabul, Lodin said the issue of corruption in government departments could not be resolved even if several organisations like HOOAC were created as long as there was no cooperation from the masses.
Political experts and journalists attended the gathering aimed at seeking opinion on how to make the anti-corruption campaign a success.
Lodin said insecurity was a key factor hampering anti-corruption efforts. “If an official is involved in taking bribes in Logar or Maidan Wardak, how can we reach him when there is no security?”
He claimed some parallel organistaions had been established, creating hurdles to the war on corruption. However, he did not elaborate on the point.
Despite problems and challenges, Lodin said HOOAC had been able to send 119 cases of corruption to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Without going into details, he added some of the cases were being investigated and others remained untouched.
He continued corruption in government departments had reached its climax and he had recently discussed the problem with President Karzai and AG Mohammad Ishaq Aloko at a joint meeting.
Karzai ordered Aloko to investigate graft cases as soon as possible so that legal action could be initiated against the officials involved.
Lodin said his office was ready to hear from citizens who could float viable suggestions on how to improve the anti-corruption campaign.
Political analyst Ahmad Saeedi suggested instead of seeking the public opinion, the issue be referred to the Cabinet, which had the power to address it.
He said the issue could be resolved only when a strong political administration was brought into being. He asked Lodin to make public the names of high-ranking graft-tainted officials whose cases had been referred to the AGO.