MPs Report Large-Scale Corruption at Customs
MPs said that a six-member parliamentary delegation was assigned to probe corruption allegations at the customs, however President Ashraf Ghani did not accept their demand to investigate these allegations.
In a letter to the parliament, The parliamentary affairs minister wrote that based on the law and directive of the president, the lawmakers are authorized to ask their queries only from the minister of finance.
But the speaker of the parliament and other MPs raised concerns about corruption at customs and said that funds from the government treasury are being embezzled.
Mir Rahman Rahmani, the speaker of the parliament said, “Existence of large-scale corruption at the customs of the Ministry of Finance, the National Procurement Authority (NPA) and the Kabul Municipality should be referred to the relevant commission as soon as possible.”
“There is no money left in the Central Bank of Afghanistan, all the money was spent on campaigns,” said Ziadudin Zia, a member.
“If they (the government) believes that there is a problem, then why are they not allowing this investigation? This raises questions,” said Zalmay Noori, member of parliament’s finance and budget commission.
The Presidential Palace accepts that the monitoring of the government`s activity is the task of MPs but insists that only the minister of finance is responsible for responding to MPs questions.
“We are committed to transparency and accountability,” said Latif Mahmoud, deputy presidential spokesman.
Abadullah Darman, an official of the Ministry of Finance, said “according to the law they have rights to monitor, but for this task the coordination between the ministry of finance and parliament is necessary.”
“Based on the law, the lawmakers have the authority to monitor the institutions. In order to do that there is a need for coordination between the ministry of finance and the parliament,” said Assadullah Darman, head of the public affairs department of the Ministry of Finance.
But officials from Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) have said that the parliament does not have the capacity to monitor corruption at customs.
“There isn’t the necessary transparency in the performance of the customs,” said IWA chief Sayed Ekram Afazali.
This comes weeks after the US Department of State withheld some funds to the Afghan government over reports of large-scale corruption in the Afghan government institutions.