Corruption: One Game, Various Layers & Different Players
Corruption in the Afghan administration is the number one problem for the Afghan government itself and for the international community; the involvement of high ranking Afghan government officials have put all the anti corruption efforts in jeopardy.
All the versions of this article:
Jawid Ludin, Afghan Ambassador to Canada
The Afghan Ambassador to Canada illegally verifies his younger brother’s educational documents to get him appointed in high position in the government. By acknowledging his brother’s educational certificates from Peshawar schools in Pakistan and by illegally verifying his documents, Jawid Ludin, the Afghan Ambassador to Canada commits an obvious act of corruption.
Qaseem Ludin, the younger brother of the ambassador, had studied at the Abasyn Institute of Management Sciences—a private educational center in Peshawar —between June 14, 2000 and September 17, 2000, and received a completion certificate for this short-term course. Ignoring the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education’s Academic Solidarity Affairs Department in Afghanistan, the ambassador officially, but illegally recognized and certified his brother’s short term course certificate in place of a proper BA or BSc diploma, in the Afghan Embassy in Canada on April 2010 one decade later.
According to Mohammad Hassan Rashiq, head of the Academic Solidarity Affairs Department in the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, “The Afghan embassy can only certify the stamp and certification of the Office of Foreign Affairs of a country where the embassy is located.” Strongly expressing concerns over the issue of certifying educational documents, Mr. Rashiq said that the Afghan Embassy’s act in this matter is against the rules and regulations of the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education. According to Mr. Rashiq, “The embassy is a political entity, not an academic institution.”
Mr. Osman Osmani proposes someone with no basic knowledge of or training in planning or policy as his Planning and Policy Deputy in the High Office of Oversight and Anti Corruption (HOO). Mr. Osmani the head of HOO requested Mr. Qaseem Ludin as his planning and policy deputy ignoring the fact that Mr. Ludin has no study or work background in this field.
Mr. Qaseem Ludin’s only documents are a certificate from his three-month long course at the Abasyn Institute of Management Sciences in Peshawar, Pakistan; and his master’s degree in Environmental Studies Geography from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. None of these two degrees are remotely related to his previous post as senior advisor to the HOO and his current post as the Deputy of Planning and Policy for the HOO.
Turning a blank eye to Mr. Ludin’s professional field and his incapacity to serve as professional deputy of planning and policy in HOO, Mr. Osmani nominated Mr. Qaseem Ludin for this post just to keep Ambassador Ludin and President Karzai happy. Mr. Osmani’s favor to ambassador Ludin’s efforts and President Karzai’s biased decision paid off handsomely to younger Ludin’s employment attempts.
A young gentleman with a background in geography drafts plans and policies in HOO. No surprise! This is how most other high-ranking officials have been hired in Karzai’s administration.
The Afghan Labor law states clearly that no one should be hired in any governmental posts unless his documents are verified by the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education. But Mr. Osmani, the head of HOO says that when the need arises he can recruit staff to fill the gap without verifying their documents first—the way he hired Mr. Qaseem Ludin.
Mr. Osmani told me in a phone interview that he hired Mr. Qaseem Ludin on direct order of the Afghan President. Now, about six months after Mr. Ludin has served as the planning and policy deputy, Mr. Osmani—coming under pressure from various media organizations—had no choice but to send Mr. Ludin’s illegally verified documents to the Ministry of Higher Education for examination.
Agreeing with the reasoning of Mr. Osmani, Mr. Abdul Razaq Zulali, HOO Administration and Finance Deputy says that nothing is wrong with the way Mr. Ludin was hired and nothing is wrong with his educational documents either.
Zulali claims that for an ordinary employee, it is crucial that his documents must be verified and his work background must be checked; however, according to Mr. Zulali, “such rules don’t apply to political posts like ministers and deputy ministers.” Mr. Ludin’s current post is similar to that of a deputy minister.
Currently, Mr. Ludin is drafting plans and policies for HOO to fight corruption in such a situation that his own educational documents have not been officially verified for the past six months, meaning that Mr. Qaseem Ludin has been serving as the planning and policy deputy in the HOO for the past nearly seven months with no official document in place.
Mr. Zulali added that HOO has no time limit or deadline for Mr. Ludin to complete the verification process of his documents. According to Mr. Zulali, it may take up to one year to verify his documents.
The HOO was set up as an independent organization to oversee the corruption and make policies to fight it. The authorities of HOO are equivalent to that of a ministry.
The President’s Office of Administration Affairs(OAA) whose sole responsibility in recruiting and employing high-ranking government officials is to make sure the documents are genuine and authentic bypasses Qaseem Ludin’s three-month long certificate and its acceptance as a proper BA degree equivalent.
Not only that, the OAA also ignored the fact that Qaseem Ludin had been charged with bad debt payment in his previous job at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). Needless to say, Mr. Ludin hasn’t paid his debt to date this article being written.
Finally, President Karzai signs off on Mr. Osmani’s request letter and appoints Qaseem Ludin as the Planning and Policy Deputy at the HOO, because he knows Ludin’s older brother.
Despite the international community’s push to end corruption, the Afghan government, particularly President Hamid Karzai and his close allies like Mr. Jawid Ludin and Mr. Osmani have no intention to fight corruption themselves.
To respond to president Obama’s call to fight against corruption, President Karzai established the HOO to oversee the anti corruption efforts, but ironically the President appointed corrupt people like Mr. Osmani as the head and Mr. Qaseem Ludin as the Planning and Policy Deputy for this organization.
When a convoy is led by such men, no doubt it will never reach the final target destination.
How can the people of Afghanistan expect the HOO to oversee the anti corruption effort, when they commit corruption within the organization?
How can lower level Afghan government employees be stopped from bribery and corruption, when a high-ranking government diplomat like Mr. Jawid Ludin does it so obviously and without consequences?
How can the international community and the Afghan civil society stop corruption or fight against it, when the even the Afghan president commits it with such arrogance and ease.