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Afghan Anticorruption Official Suspects Ministers Of Graft

Azizullah Ludin, head of Afghanistan's High Office for Oversight and Anticorruption
Azizullah Ludin, head of Afghanistan's High Office for Oversight and Anticorruption
KABUL -- A senior Afghan official says he believes some cabinet ministers are involved in corruption because of their failure to work with his graft-monitoring agency, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Azizullah Ludin, the head of Afghanistan's High Office for Oversight and Anticorruption (HOOAC), told RFE/RL that several senior government officials have failed to cooperate with his office, leading him to suspect they are involved in corruption.

"We are facing a lack of cooperation from those in high positions in the government," Ludin said on October 11. "They think they are above the law. Their behavior is comparable to King Louis the 14th of France who declared 'I am the state.'"

Ludin did not name specific ministers who are not cooperating with the HOOAC or offer proof that they are involved in corruption.

He said he told President Hamid Karzai about this issue and "informed him that measures need to be taken to ensure everybody is equal before the law."

Ludin added that the existence of corruption and the government's inability to tackle it are one of the reasons for the Afghan people's lack of trust in Kazai's administration.

Kabul-based political analyst Isak Atmar told RFE/RL that a special tribunal should be created to tackle corruption cases among top government officials.

"The people of Afghanistan want action to be taken against corrupt officials," Atmar said. "People expect that sooner or later those accused of widespread corruption will be brought to justice in court. The other option would be to create a special court that will primarily investigate corruption at the highest levels of government."

This is not the first time anticorruption agencies have accused ministers in Karzai's government of corruption, bribery, or abuse of office.

Western officials have complained about such problems for several years, leading Karzai to establish the HOOAC in 2010.

Karzai has said on several occasions that he is doing all he can to battle corruption within his government.

Nonetheless, he maintains that government officials are not the only perpetrators of such crimes, citing foreign security firms and even provincial reconstruction units working in Afghanistan as also being involved in corruption.