The Whistle Blower Protection Law Protects an Afghan Mullah

Anayatullah Alami, Integrity Watch Afghanistan

Sayed Mohammad Arif Wazeen, a Mullah and officer in the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MHRA), who raised concerns about the existence of administrative corruption and the existence of ghost imams received protection against punitive actions of higher officials under Whistle Blower Protection Law for the first time in Afghanistan. The Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (ARCSC), issued an order on 20th January 2020 to reinstate him to his position. Earlier, he was punished by transfer and demotion from 3rd grade to 4th.The Mullah learned about ghost Mullas in some villages of Samangan province where he was appointed. He shared the issue with some higher officers of the Ministry but this did not pay off. When the issue was shared with the police department and the accused were arrested, the MHRA punished him with demotion and transfer from Samangan to Uruzgan province. Struggling to find protection, he registered his complaint at the Office of Prosecutor, but, after taking months, it proved worthless. Finally, he requested help from Integrity Watch on December 29, 2019.Integrity Watch firstly shared the recently enacted Whistle Blowers Protection Law and explained the relevant provisions to him. He was surprised to know that such a law existed. Integrity Watch then issued a letter to ARCSC stating that Article 14 of the Whistle Blower Law’s protects him when he discloses information about corruption. Mr. Erfan Erzaz, advocacy officer at Integrity Watch, said, “We also called hotline 5000 number of the Department of Citizens’ Complaints of Administrative Office of the President and issued a separate letter to Attorney General Office to investigate the case.”

The ARCSC issued a letter on 20th January 2020 to reinstate him to his position. The Whistle Blower Protection Law of Afghanistan coupled with active advocacy by Integrity Watch succeeded in protecting the Mulla whistle blower. Based on our knowledge this is the first ever implementation of the law which is essential for curbing corruption in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the Mullah still needs security protection if he ever went back to the Samangan because he may be threatened by local officials.