Protestors accuse Logar mayor of graft
PUL-I-ALAM (PAN): Dozens of residents of this provincial capital on Saturday protested against the Logar municipality department for what they called blatant corruption and a failure to address civic problems.
Organised by a civil society group, the protest march in Pul-i-Alam began at around 8am and lasted half an hour, with participants chanting slogans against public-sector departments and accusing them of massive corruption.
A senior civil society activist, Lutfullah Stanikzai, who led the protest, claimed he had evidence of the mayor being involved in "kickbacks".
Farhad Akbar, who spearheads an anti-Taliban militia in Pul-i-Alam, warned if embezzlement and misuse of authority at the municipality continued unchecked, the city could sink into chaos.
He warned of a protest movement if the government failed to take action against its entities involved in corruption.
But the allegations were rejected as unfounded by Mayor Ahmad Khan Ulfat, who called the rally organisers self-centered individuals.
He insisted his department was clean of corrupt people and its affairs on track. He strongly rejected that he had forced his juniors into signing documents to sanction grants for ghost projects.
The municipality officials recently dispatched written complaints to a number of provincial departments. A copy of the complaint is available with Pajhwok Afghan News.
Signed by officials at the municipality's administration, transport, market control, stocks, revenue, public services and others sections, the letter accused Mayor Ahmad Khan Ulfat of forcing his subordinates into signing documents meant at drawing funds.
Mir Ahmad Rokhan, who heads the engineering section at the municipality, said that a bridge in Pul-i-Alam was blown up by insurgents in the recent past.
The Mayor sanctioned 400,000 afghanis for the bridge's reconstruction, but it cost only 70,000 afghanis, said Rokhan, who alleged the mayor had forced him into making bills that showed the total amount had been used on the bridge.
A spokesman for the governor's office, Niamatullah Naibkhel, confirmed receiving complaints against the municipality. Similar complaints had been delivered to the judicial organs, he added.
He said separate investigations by the provincial spy service, police, and the judiciary had indicated corruption in project contracts at the municipality.
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