Paktika customs officials accused of bribery
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Provincial council members of southeastern Paktika province on Sunday accused local customs officials of involvement in massive corruption and demanded action against them.
But officials said the increase in revenue of the Customs Department was a proof of transparency in its affairs.
Mohammad Rahman Qadari, the provincial council secretary, said a majority of trucks loaded with goods were allowed to proceed without paying customs duty. He said the truckers paid hefty bribes to customs officials instead of taxes.
Qadari said they would form a committee to investigate the alleged corruption at the customs department.
Taj Mohammad, another provincial council member, said they were concerned about the increasing graft in the customs department.
He said customs officials used tricks how to prevent trucks from paying taxes and pocketing the money themselves, a practice usually done during night time. He said thousands of afghanis ended up in pockets of the officials on a daily basis.
Some journalists visited the customs office and found that tax on seven to 10 tonnes of goods was received but the money went to pockets of the officials.
Shaista Jan Ahadi, former head of the provincial council, confirmed widespread corruption in the customs department.
But Customs Director Saddiqui Ahmadkhel rejected graft allegations and said: “After my appointment, the level of corruption has declined manifold and the revenue collection surged.”
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