Vendors pay bribes to do business in Kabul
KABUL (Pajhwok): Street vendors in the capital Kabul complained some municipality employees, police officials and disabled persons were illegally taking money from them over the past few years. Authorities concerned yet to take action to halt the illegal practice.
Following an understanding with departments concerned, they get money from street vendors and in return allow them to do their business on footpaths on the busy streets of Kabul.
Kabul police and municipality officials confirmed some police and municipality workers might get money from street vendors. They said that officials involved in bribe would be taken to task.
Khan Agha, a vegetable vendor in Firoshgah locality, said he has to give 100 afghanis to disabled, 50 to police officials and 30 to employees of second municipality district each day for the past few years.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News they would be barred from their business it he stopped bribed the mentioned people.
Khan Agha, 57, who look after his 13-member family, argued they were fed up with the illegal practice of municipality, disabled and police.
“I suffered 27,000 afghanis losses due to decrease in business during the past three months. They don’t allow us here, if we didn’t pay them, I have no other option but to bribe them.”
His colleague, Samiullah, said: “Handcarts owners pay 50afs and vendors having a little bigger carts used to pay 100 afs daily. If we don’t do so, they will beat us.”
He said they were experiencing the trouble for the past five years, saying they could not complain to authorities, because the individuals who gave money from them had close links with senior officials.
Total amount of the money collected by relevant municipality workers, disabled and police from salespersons stood at 10 million afghanis, as the exact number of vendors in Kabul is estimated at 100,000 persons.
Afghanistan’s laborers national union secretary-general, Haji Zahir Karga, confirmed the illegal practice persisted and had accused disabled persons for taking illegal taxes from vendors. “Vendors have to tolerate this oppression in the wake of getting something to feed their family,” he added.
Asadullah, who spoke on behalf of disabled persons in first and second police district of capital Kabul, said they reserved the right to get money daily from vendors for keeping order among them.
Asadullah who have lost one of his leg and one hand in Afghan war said: “If there is no any legal activity for people with disabilities, they would join militants or involve in other criminal activities.”
He said that people with disabilities were allowed by the Kabul municipality and Kabul police to sell goods as vendors.
But Kabul municipality and police rejected this claim, saying that taking money in such a way was against established laws.
Kabul markets management director, Khair Mohammad Safdari, said there is no contract between the municipality and people with disabilities and taking money from vendors is illegal.
“There will be no problem if a contract is signed between the municipality and people with disabilities to collect money from vendors and then share it with the national bank. But all the money they are collecting is shared with the association of disables, not with the government,” he added.
Safdari added that possibly some of municipality workers might also involved in illegal practice. Municipality can charge any vendor if they violate laws with giving them a valid charge sheet paper.
Safdari said no municipality officer known to be involved in taking money, if any of them known for taking illegal money he would be sacked from his position.
A number of people with disabilities said they were taking money from vendors on allowance from ministry of public works. But the ministry called the claim as baseless.
Public works spokesman, Ali Iftikhari said people with disabilities were arbitrarily involved in minting money from vendors.
He called the practice as illegal and asked responsible organizations to prevent such activities.
Meanwhile, Kabul police chief, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zahir, said people with disabilities misuse their privileges and take money from vendors.
He said police have several times tried to prevent illegal taking money from vendors, but the disables forced some government officials to avoid police operation against them.
Kabul police chief, Hashmatullah Stankizai, while referring to police involvement in taking money from vendors said: “May be some of policemen are involved in taking money from vendors.” He said those vendors mistreated by policemen or other people could contact police on the given contact numbers: 100 and 119 to help resolve their problems.
He said if any policeman was involved in any illegal practice then he would be taken to justice.
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