MPs accused of getting bribes from ministers
KABUL (PAN): Differences among Wolesi Jirga members widened on Saturday when explanations offered by ministers summoned for failing to spend development budgets in 2011 were accepted by a majority of members.
Some lawmakers accused their colleagues of accepting bribes from the ministers and keeping their party affiliations supreme over official obligations and parliamentary norms.
The lower house has summoned 11 ministers for under-spending their development budgets. Nine have so far testified before and let off by the assembly.
On Saturday, Information and Culture Minister Syed Makhdoom Rahin and Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani appeared before the house and their explanations were accepted by a majority of members.
Earlier in the week, Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak and Counternarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Muqbil had also satisfied Wolesi Jirga members.
Mohammad Naeem Lalai, a lawmaker from southern Kandahar province, alleged some lawmakers had accepted bribes and privileges from the ministers summoned to save their skin.
Without naming anyone, he said others accepted the ministerial explanations to protect their party affiliations. The legislator slammed the latest house decisions as dictatorial, alleging the assembly had turned into a centre where underhand deals involving bribes were being cut.
He said the people of Afghanistan should defend their rights themselves because their public representatives had no interest in solving their problems.
"Shameless lawmakers have no concern about the problems facing the country and they are promoting their petty personal interests ," he alleged. Lalai called on the Afghans not to vote in the 2015 parliamentary elections for those who were playing with their destiny.
A member from Kabul, Fatima Nazari, also claimed the ministerial explanations had been accepted under secret deals between some lawmakers and the ministers summoned.
She recalled the house had previously decided the fate of a minister summoned through a no-confidence vote, but all decisions this time came through the 50-plus one formula that contradicted the majority view.
"The parliament of Afghanistan has breached the law today," she remarked, accusing some of her colleagues of benefitting from saving the ministers summoned.
Habibi Danish from northern Takhar province said the ministers summoned, knowing some MPs possessed documents about their wrongdoing, had campaigned to avoid no-confidence votes being brought against them.
Another woman parliamentarian, Shakiba Hashmi, said it had become clear that the parliament was rife with corruption like other government entities. She said Rahin and Shahrahi had less votes cast in their favour in the previous round, but they obtained more on Saturday.
To a question, Hashmi said she alone could not reveal the names of the lawmakers who had received bribes and that some like-minded MPs were mulling over the creation of a group to expose them.
She also claimed some ministers had approached with money in return for voting in their favour, but she rejected the offer. She would not go into details.
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