Graft-tainted Torkham scale officials being prosecuted
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The provincial council on Monday asked the government to arrest and prosecute graft-tainted scale officials and Public Works Ministry observers in eastern Nangarhar province.
Haji Ahmad Ali, the council chief, told a press conference in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, their investigation showed hundreds of thousands of afghanis were being pocketed on a daily basis at the Torkham weighbridge on the border with Pakistan.
“A few days ago, a joint delegation of the provincial council and the provincial administration visited the scale in Torkham border town. Before the visit, the scale officials had collected 900,000 afganis in revenue in five days, but they collected 8.5 million afs during the same period in the presence of the delegation. It shows how brazenly corruption is committed in the scale.”
Flanked by other members of the council, Ahmad Ali said: “We found eight officials of the scale to be involved in corruption and have demanded their arrest and introduction to the attorney in our official letter.”
He said the tainted officials included four observers of the Ministry of Public Works, who had been sent to the scale to prevent corruption.
The council chief said millions of afghanis were stolen at the scale on a daily basis and the government should appoint honest individuals at the facility for the sake of better management and transparency in its affairs.
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Mohammad Hanif Gardiwal told Pajhwok Afghan News they had appointed a delegation about two weeks ago to investigate corruption at the scale. The investigation was ongoing, he said.
“I have myself appointed this delegation comprised of members and officials from the provincial council, police, the governor’s house and the National Directorate of Security. Investigation shows widespread corruption is committed at the scale,” he said.
The deputy governor said the exact amount of money lost to corruption was unknown as yet, but the five-day investigation showed the scale earned millions of afghanis on a daily basis.
“If the scale officials accept bribes from trucks carrying extra load or let them go uncharged, it is corruption. We will take serious action against such officials and will introduce them to the prosecutor’s office.”
Gardiwal said the provincial Public Works Department and the governor’s house had no role in running the scale, which was controlled by the Public Works Ministry.
The Public Works Ministry has so far said nothing about the revelation made by high ranking Nangarhar officials.
Former Nangarhar governor Attullah Ludin, who resigned last month, had admitted he could not prevent corruption at the Torkham scale and some provincial departments.
He had claimed that 150 million afghanis were lost to corruption each month at the scale, but the governor’s house could not prevent it.
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