Many ex-ministers, officials keeping state vehicles
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some former ministers and senior government officials have not returned their official vehicles to the departments concerned despite passage of many years, it is learnt.
Pajhwok Afghan News collected information in four days about former officials who are still keeping their vehicles.
They are former governor of eastern Kunar province, Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shajan, former Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Fazl Ahmad Manawi, former counternarcotics minister Din Mohammad Mubariz, and former parliamentary affairs minister Humayun Azizi.
Similarly, former social affairs minister Amna Afzali is still keeping her government vehicle. Former Farah governor Mohammad Omar Sherzad has been using three government registration plates.
Shajan was removed as the governor of Kunar about a decade ago, but he is still keeping his official vehicle.
Jan Aqa, the head of transport section at the Governor’s House in Kunar, confirmed the matter and said Shajan was currently living overseas and they did not know where his official vehicle was.
The new governor of Farah, Mohammad Asif Nang, said his predecessor Mohammad Omar Sherzad had been given three official vehicles and he had returned two of them and had sent the third for a repair work to western Herat province.
But two days ago, Nang told a press conference that Sherzad was yet to return three registration plates. Attempts at seeking comments from Sherzad did not succeed.
Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) spokesman Tawab Ghorzag said the directorate had transport sections in all the provinces to provide vehicles to governors and other provincial officials.
“The sections distribute vehicles to officials and retrieve them after jobs of the officials are over, but we have not registered any report that suggests a former governor or official is not returning his vehicle.”
IEC chief Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani said former chief Manawi had not returned so far the commission’s two Land Cruiser and one Hilux vehicle and was still using them. Manawi’s secretary refused to comment on the matter.
Several other ex-government officials have been keeping their official vehicles. An official at the Ministry of Counternarcotics, wishing anonymity, said that former minister Mohammad Mubariz Rashidi continued to use a government bullet-proof vehicle.
He said the former minister had been unofficially pursued to return his vehicle, but he was yet to do it. To a question why Rashidi was refusing to surrender the vehicle, the source said Rashidi lacked a convincing argument but saying he as a former minister had the right to keep a government vehicle.
The armoured vehicle Rashidi is keeping had been purchased with an American aid money amounting to $120,000, the official said.
A second official of the Counternarcotics Ministry also said Rashidi had not returned his official vehicle, but the former minister said he had returned all the government vehicles as well as security guards.
Acting social affairs minister Wasil Noor Mohmand said their former minister, Afzali, did not have her own vehicle and thus keeping official car. She could not be reached for comment.
Pajhwok talked to other ministries, including interior, foreign, education, higher education, justice, refugee affairs, information and culture, agriculture, public health, borders and tribal affair, hajj and religious affairs, transport, aviation, mines and petroleum, public works, telecommunication and IT, rural development, urban development, finance and commerce and industry.
Officials in these ministries said their former ministries had returned their official vehicles, but a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, Daulat Waziri, said he had no information if former defence minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi had returned his official vehicles or not.
Women’s Affairs Ministry spokesman Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi said former minister Husn Banu Ghazar used private vehicles and she did not keep government vehicles.
Pajhwok telephoned a number officials at the Ministry of Economy and Rural Development, but they did not provide clear replies, but calls made to the Ministry of Water and Energy were not answered.
An official at the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said former minister Humayun Azizi had not returned an armoured vehicle to the ministry. Azizi was removed about two months ago.
His successor Ghulam Nabi Farah, who neither confirmed nor rejected the issue, said the ministry’s departments concerned should be asked.
Official vehicles are registered with the offices concerned, but there is no exclusive department to purchase and register them.
Finance Ministry spokesman Abdul Qadir Jilani said vehicles for ministries, governors and departments had been purchased in different times through various sources over the past 13 years.
He said most of the vehicles had been provided by aid giving agencies and provincial reconstruction teams and a few number by the government.
Jilani said he had not information about official vehicles given to former officials, saying the question should be asked from the Presidential Palace.
But presidential spokesman Ajmal Abidi said an investigation into the issue had been opened and essential measures would follow, but stopped short of going into details.
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