Governor blasts Iranian consulate for bribery
HERAT CITY (PAN): The new governor on Monday accused the Iranian consulate in western Herat province of receiving bribes from the Afghans in return for visas.
Syed Fazlullah Wahidi, in an exclusive talk with Pajhwok Afghan News, said an investigation had been launched to ascertain factors behind the bribes paid inside and outside the consulate.
Afghan touts received backhander from visitors before they were issued visas for the neighbouring country, the governor alleged, saying they were trying to reach the bottom of the issue.
He added the authorities were looking into the problem to determine whether or not Iranian staffers were also involved in seeking bribes. Their Afghan agents have long been at it.
Wahidi said based on growing public complaints, he recently summoned a consulate official to the governor's office and shared with him visa-related problems.
The consulate representative was told the Afghans' mistreatment at the joint border must stop forthwith, said the governor, who also called for an end to the killing of illegal migrants.
Long queues of visa-seeking people could be seen in front of the consulate on a daily basis. Sher Mohammad, who was expelled from Iran after spending 15 years there, is also in attempt to get a work visa.
The applicant said he had been trying for a month and a half to get a visa for Iran, where he wanted to settle his accounts with certain individuals. But the authorities have been dithering on his request, Mohammad alleged.
He had been asked to pay 360 euros, instead of the 80 euros legal visa fee, the applicant claimed, saying he could not afford to grease the commission agents' hands.
His friends, who allegedly paid bribes to the touts, have already reached Iran. But a consulate official, requesting not to be named, rejected the accusations as baseless.
They were doing their bit to ensure transparency in their processes, the official insisted, saying they issued 100 visas a day.
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