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    $70.8m Hairatan port revenue unaccounted for

    KABUL/MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Hairatan port’s revenue amounting to 3.5 billion afghanis ($70.8 million) has been unaccounted, a senior anti-corruption official claimed on Sunday. But the port director dismissed the allegation as baseless.

    High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption chief Dr. Azizullah Ludin, who was summoned by the Wolesi Jirga’s justice commission, said a recent investigation revealed that a major part of the port’s revenue for 2011-2010 had been unexplained.

    Without giving figures for the port’s total income over the past two years, he said the disclosure had been made by a delegation of his office. However, he added, the issue needed to be further investigated.

    But Hairatan Port Director Qazi Najib said their income was well documented and no amount was unaccounted for. He told Pajhwok Afghan News no delegation had visited the port for investigation, and they were ready to provide complete information in this regard.

    The Hairatan port revenues reached $200 million in 2010 and there has been a 30 percent increase in the income this year.   

    Ludin also said they were investigating reports about corruption at the Aqina port in Faryab, Spinboldak port in Kandahar and another similar facility in Herat.

    He added there was no need for the creation of parallel offices, saying government departments were already marred by corruption. One major source of the scourge was the employment of foreign advisers, he believed.

    “When we have eligible Afghan citizens for doing the job, why foreigners are being paid huge salaries?” he asked. A government employee receives 2,500 afghanis ($50.7820) a month, compared to $20,000 paid to a foreign adviser.

    mm/ma/mud



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