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Afghan corruption watchdog warns of electoral fraud

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 18:22

The upcoming 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan "is vulnerable to corruption and fraud," an Afghan watchdog said Monday, dpa reported.

Fraud, ballot stuffing, misuse of government resources by candidates and abuse of government positions are among the concerns, said Yama Torabi, a member of the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.

Reviews have identified monitoring gaps that create opportunities for fraud and corruption, he said in a press conference.

Afghanistan is holding its presidential election in April. Incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, is not allowed to run.

In the 2009 elections, millions of votes were thrown out by the election complaints commission due to fraud.

Torabi said it was not clear how the finance ministry and the election commission plan to monitor and verify campaign financing and expenses.

According to electoral law, a candidate is allowed to spend only 10 million Afghani (180,000 dollars) during the campaign.

But there is no clear mechanism for oversight on the expenses, Torabi said.

Private banks, like the scandal-ridden Kabul Bank, funded money for some candidates in the past election, he said.

Afghan authorities should set requirements for candidates to register their assets and expenses in a transparent manner, Torabi said, as well as the sources of their income.

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