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Watchdog releases damning report on Afghan Cricket Board

Integrity Watch Afghanistan this week painted a grim picture of governance issues regarding the Afghan Cricket Board and said the organization lacks transparency, accountability and corruption prevention measures.

In a report by the watchdog, it stated that procedures around the appointment of board members was also questionable.

It was also found that despite having received international aid to promote cricket among women, the ACB has failed to provide the necessary physical infrastructure for women to play the game.

In addition, Integrity Watch said that the study, which took several months, required the intervention of the Access to Information Commission as the board was unwilling to provide essential information to the research team.

According to Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch: "The ACB is faced with multiple governance issues. First and foremost is the politicization of the appointments process of board members and the too frequent changes at executive level."

The report quoted Afzali as saying "the Afghan President who holds the prerogative on the appointment of the board chairman has not been able to maintain transparency and accountability in regard to leadership changes on the board and has never provided the reasons for changes in the leadership."

According to the watchdog, President Ashraf Ghani changed the ACB leadership four times over the past six years and none of the outgoing chairmen left on good terms as accusations of corruption and nepotism were rife.

"Additionally, the government has not carried out any performance appraisals on board members or after any of these changes," the report stated.

Integrity Watch pointed out that in other cricket-playing countries the process of appointing leadership members was a democratic one and elected chairmen serve for a period of between three and five years, depending on the countries.

The report stated that "Afghanistan needs to restructure the ACB based on international best practices."

Corruption was another key factor and according to Ezatullah Adib, Head of Research at Integrity Watch, "minimum measures such as a proper code of conduct at the ACB are not in place to prevent corruption."

He said the anti-corruption code was adopted from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in August 2019. However, the watchdog pointed out that this only happened after Integrity Watch requested the document for the purpose of this study.

In addition, the document has not been translated into Dari or Pashto so that players and officials can use it.

The report also found the ACB has not published its annual audit and there is no evidence that is has undergone an independent annual audit.

The watchdog has meanwhile called on the president to order the amendment of the ACB constitution so as to set a tenure period for board members and to detail procedures for their selection to the board.

This in addition to recommended revisions and adjustments of policies and an overhaul of the organizations.

Afzali concluded, "This research shows that Afghan cricket team has recorded incredible success in the last two decades but it also shows that until the governance of the ACB is fixed to meet proper best practice governance standards, it wonít be able to provide the vital support and management for the game to achieve its full potential."

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/20062


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