Corruption runs rampant in Samangan coalmines: MP
KABUL (Pajhwok): A lawmaker from northern Samangan province on Monday alleged corruption ran rampant in coalmines in her province, saying a local council had prevented embezzlement of 15 million afghanis in the sector in past 24 hours alone.
Wolesi Jirga member Masouma Khawari told the session: “A local council has evidence that shows from engineers to top mines officials are involved in smuggling of coal and producing fake tax papers.”
She added the council had been voluntarily overseeing coal mines in Dara-e-Souf district since its establishment two months ago. “There are vehicles that have not paid any taxes over the past one year, but they have been shipping coal to Pakistan.”
“In the past 24 hours, the council has prevented embezzlement of 15 million afghanis. Now you may calculate how much is embezzled in a week or a month,” she continued, adding that corruption in the mines had been ongoing for years.
The council, she said, had presented its evidence to local officials and the Ministry of Mines, but no measures had been taken so far to stop the anomalies.
“People have also become disappointed. To whom they should complain? To a bigger thief against a smaller one?” she asked.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi tasked the house commission on national economy and central audit with investigating the matter.
Khairullah Anosh, the acting governor of Samangan, said the council had been set up to prevent smuggling of coal by powerful figures and private sector. “I ask the Mines Ministry to place such councils in its structure because they have proven very effective.”
He added the day the council started its work, government’s income from the province had increased.
According to the governor, more than 12,000 people work at Dara-e-Souf mines, which contribute more than 60 million afghanis to government’s coffers.
Last year alone, the governor said, the mines generated over two billion afghanis income for the government.
Mines Ministry spokesman Muhiuddin Noori said: “we welcome such acts by local people in exposing corruption and corrupt faces.”
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