Balkh govt departments riddled with corruption: PC head
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): All government departments in northern Balkh province are riddled with corruption, but the level of graft varies from one institution to another, a public representative says.
Provincial Council Chairman Mohammad Ibrahim Khairandesh made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of a meeting in Mazar-i-Sharif.
Nilofar Sayyar, head of the society, told this scribe the scourge of corruption existed in one manifestation or another in almost all government departments.
Bribery, misappropriation of funds, misuse of office, land grab and collection of illegal levies are the common forms of corruption, according to Ms. Sayyar, who said the ordinary people were hard hit by the menace.
Khairandesh confirmed the findings of the society’s survey, saying all departments were by corruption, in varying degrees though. “When asked, these organisations say everything is OK. But when you hear from the people, corruption can’t be denied.”
He noted the department that dealt more frequently with public complaints had a higher level of graft. Departments of Public Health, Education, Prosecutor-General Office and courts are some of the entities awash with administrative graft.
With regard to disregard for merit in the Balkh Education Department, the public representative referred to a recent test for the appointment of teachers. Some candidates with 45 out of 100 marks were declared successful, he claimed.
But others who secured more than 90 marks were shown as having failed, said Khairandesh, who blamed the civil society, provincial council and media outlets for demonstrating little activism against graft.
“Whenever the provincial council, civil and media release true reports highlighting this menace and other public problems, the level of corruption will come down,” he believed, stressing the need for merit in appointments of public servants.
Every departmental head, who holds a post for more than a decade, is either corrupt or well-connected, he thinks.
On the other hand, provincial authorities also admit the curse but say they are trying their bit to combat corruption. Zabihullah Akhtari, an official at the governor’s office, acknowledged the survey on corruption was accurate to some extent.
No one could deny corruption in Balkh, a part of Afghanistan, he remarked, saying the curse was ironically more rampant in organs offering public services.
The ongoing counter-corruption drive should become a nationwide efforts, he opined, stressing the participation of civil society and the public at large in the endeavour.
Nilofar Sayyar said the society had suggested in its report a number of ways to counter graft. If implemented by the government, the proposals would go a long way in reducing graft, she hoped.
Rule of law, adherence to merit in appointments to public offices, curbing nepotism, a review of salaries of government servants and a radical change in governance style were necessary to deal with the challenge, she concluded.
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