Lashkargah mayor accused of graft, land grab
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The provincial council (PC) chief for southern Helmand province on Sunday accused the Lashkargah mayor and some other municipality officials of corruption and land-grab.
Mohammad Karim Atal levelled the allegations at a press conference here, saying corruption and land-grab had become a routine practice at the municipality whose officials were illegally selling markets, houses and shops.
He alleged same residential plots had been sold to two or three different persons and agricultural lands sold to high officials for establishing gas stations. “Not a single plot has been left for government construction in the city.”
Atal said he had asked the mayor and other municipality officials to refrain from corruption and illegally grabbing lands, but they continued to do so.
The public representative said several government officials strongly supported the mayor who considered himself not answerable to the provincial council.
“We have valid evidence of corruption in Lashkargah municipality and we ask the central government to investigate it and bring the culprits to justice,” he demanded.
The municipality offered no services but collected taxes on various pretexts, he said. He warned the provincial council would take action on its own if the central government did not take immediate action against the mayor.
Safiullah, a shopkeeper, said the municipality had failed to provide enough services to the people despite increasing taxes.
He said the common people could not visit the municipality office except a hanful of individuals involved in secret deals on state property with the officials concerned.
But Deputy Mayor Ahmad Massoud Selab rejected the allegations of the provincial council chief, saying municipality affairs were carried out in accordance with the law and no one was allowed to introduce their own code of conduct.
He said the issuance of a plot documents to two people might be a mistake or a result of some other administrative lapse. Selab claimed the municipality was trying to provide every possible facility to the people.
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