Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
It is a pleasure seeing you chairing our session, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the chair of this 9th Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery and express my gratitude to the Secretariat for the timely preparation of the documents. This session is yet another good opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation and sharing of experiences between state’s parties in overcoming the challenges that we face in the area of asset recovery.
Many countries around the world continue to face the huge challenge that the transfer of proceeds of corruption abroad pose to their development and economic growth. In Afghanistan, addressing this aspect of corruption remains key in our anti-corruption efforts and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as institutional building, legislation and policy development which aims at building the required capacity to this end. The adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the law on overseeing the implementation of the strategy, the establishment of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption as an independent body in 2008 in accordance with article 6 of the UNCAC as well as the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Court and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit at the Office of the Attorney General, are testimony to such efforts in recent years.
As the most recent examples of such efforts, the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law as well as a number of regulations under the Law on Banking of Afghanistan as well as the Law of the Central Bank of Afghanistan have been adopted, which directly or indirectly deal with asset recovery. Additionally, the capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Afghanistan, which was established in 2006, has been enhanced and the Unit has been increasingly playing an important role in anti-corruption efforts including in facilitating the return of proceeds of crime. The FIU has recently joined various cooperation frameworks among FIUs across the region and beyond.
The Government of Afghanistan has also adopted the new Law on Extradition and has recently signed various extradition agreements with a number of neighbouring and regional countries. Such agreements have already facilitated various cases of asset recovery and extradition between the parties. A number of high profile cases of corruption have been recently addressed by the Government which included, in some cases, asset recovery from outside Afghanistan.
As it has long been argued, given the cross-border nature of asset recovery, success in this important area depends on continued cooperation at all bilateral, regional and international levels and the role of the existing international initiatives is key in supporting countries in dealing with associated challenges. Asset recovery is also a complex and multi-faceted process which requires technical knowledge and specialized capacity.
In this context, while Afghanistan remains committed to further improving the legal and institutional frameworks required for asset recovery as well as to cooperating under the UNCAC and various bilateral agreements, our anti-corruption agencies will continue to require technical assistance to strengthen their capacity including in the area of asset recovery.