Senate also summons finance minister
KABUL (PAN): The Meshrano Jirga -- or upper house of parliament -- decided on Tuesday to summon Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal to give the names of the lawmakers making illegal demands on the Ministry of Finance.
A day earlier, the Wolesi Jirga -- or lower house -- also called Zakhelwal for violating the law in five cases and asked him for an explanation. But his spokesman said the minister would not appear before the assembly.
The house blamed the minister for failing to take advisors on foreign trips, nepotism in appointments, misuse of authority, giving contradictory budget figures in 2011 and collecting money for President Karzai’s election campaign.
A spokesman for the ministry, Najib Manalai, told Pajhwok Afghan News the ministry had been under pressure during 18 months due to illegal demands from some legislators.
“During the period, 149 MPs sent the ministry 1,748 requests -- 932 for appointments to the custom department and 28 for an increase in district and provincial development budgets,” he claimed.
He said 800 letters had been received from 30 MPs, whose names might be exposed in case of need.
Addressing the upper house on Tuesday, Senator Hafiz Abdul Qayyum said the finance minister had to reveal the names of those who had made had illegal demands. If the minister did not expose the names, parliament’s credibility would be damaged, he argued.
“There is no doubt that there are such people in the parliament, but it would be very good to expose their names,” he continued.
Another member from central Daikundi province, Najiba Hussaini, also asked the minister to expose the public representatives pressurising him. “He has to show us evidence, so the corrupt people could be referred to the Attorney General Office for prosecution.”
Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar told the session the house was not supporting corrupt elements, but the minister would have to clarify his statements and prove the accusations. “He should not accuse all MPs of graft…”
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