KABUL (SW) - The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee inquiry has exposed weaknesses and inconsistencies in the recruitment and deployment processes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This Inquiry illustrates the differences between the standard, legal processes of hiring and deployment (and re-deployments) alongside examples of actual practices at MoFA. It noted that certain recruitment and deployment procedures at MoFA are inconsistent and unreliable at best. Established Policies, Procedures, and Rules of the Ministry have been subject to questionable influences and active evasion. As a result, there is speculation that the required qualifications and procedures that are essential for quality outcomes of recruitment and deployment processes in MoFA have been ignored or repeatedly disregarded.
According to the inquiry, certain recruitment practices at MoFA are not consistently meeting their legal requirements; and some decisions on deployments and re-deployments are not based on MoFA procedure. It said over 400 diplomats are irregularly recruited at MOFA
It added concerns about interference in hiring and deployments in the Ministry go beyond violation of the standard rules and procedures and may effect Afghanistan’s strategic foreign relations objectives. The legal frameworks guiding recruitment, deployment and promotion practices at MoFA include Afghan national laws, international legal instruments to which Afghanistan is a signatory, and requirements detailed in the MoFA Human Resources Policy Guide.
The study added deployment of unqualified diplomats, through circumventing MoFA’s rules and procedures, stands out as a recurring theme in interviews, internal documents, and other data analyzed. Informal recruitment processes at MoFA and failure to enforce Human Resource policies may be resulting in violations of law. In particular, the Inquiry found examples of parties avoiding legal requirements by going around them, or lowering the standards of the requirements in education and foreign language. These practices can leave MoFA with a lower quality of candidates to represent Afghanistan on critical foreign policy matters.
Areas of vulnerability to corruption in the deployment process include: violations in the requirement to return to Kabul between tours of duty, educational leaves of absence for deployed Foreign Service Officers, irregular temporary-basis deployments, and extra-procedural re-deployments, the study said.
The MEC suggested that to improve transparency and avert corrupt practices in recruitment and deployment processes MoFA should establish a Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) to capture all decision points of the recruitment and deployment process, in accordance with the MoFA Human Resource Policy Guide, within six months of the release of this Inquiry. It added clear sanctions should be put in place by MoFA for violations of all recruitment and deployment procedures, and proactively communicated to all staff, within eight months of release of this Inquiry.
MoFA should terminate employees recruited outside the regular recruitment procedure and refer their cases to the AGO within six months of the release of this Inquiry, it suggested.