Statement on Newsweek report on testimony from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)

Apr 30, 2015

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) strongly rejects Newsweek’s implication that it condones corrupt practices with regards to administration of the Law and Order Trust Fund of Afghanistan (LOTFA).

The claim that UNDP is corrupt is incorrect and defamatory. It is not substantiated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) testimony on which the Newsweek article is based.

Newsweek says: “The report estimated that corrupt practices within the Afghan government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which helps distribute police pay ‘could take as much as 50 percent of a policeman's salary’.”

But in fact the SIGAR testimony said that “corrupt practices within the trusted agent system of salary payments ‘could take as much as 50 (percent) of a policeman’s salary’.” Newsweek has wrongly identified UNDP as the trusted agent. A trusted agent is a person or entity appointed by the Afghan Ministry of Interior who delivers salaries, it is not UNDP.

In a previous report in January this year SIGAR recognized that UNDP had made improvements in LOTFA, although more work needed to be done. UNDP welcomed the previous report and has undertaken a series of strong measures to achieve SIGAR’s recommendations in order to improve LOTFA. That process is ongoing. UNDP strongly rejects the assertion by SIGAR, quoted in the Newsweek report, of UNDP’s “almost complete abdication of oversight and management of donor funds.”

UNDP has always fully cooperated with all stakeholders, including the Government of Afghanistan, its donors and SIGAR, in order to improve the transparency, accountability and oversight of the LOTFA project.

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