Zabul women’s affairs director accused of corruption
QALAT (Pajhwok): A number of women in southern Zabul province accuse the provincial Women’s Affairs Department of widespread corruption in its training programmes, but the department head rejects the allegation.
Attending a training workshop at the women’s affairs department, a number of women claimed financial corruption was being committed in their training programmes.
One of them, Aqila, told Pajhwok Afghan News that half of the funds an aid-giving agency had provided for workshops on agricultural issues were being pocketed by the women’s affairs director.
She said on every agriculture issue a two-day workshop was being organized and each participating woman was given 500 afghanis per day, but the second day money went to the director.
Another woman, Bakht Bibi, claimed she was told prior to the start of the workshop to give half of the money she receives to the director, otherwise her name would be removed from the list of workshop participants.
Anar Kali, another participant of the training workshops, said she was extremely poor and was struggling with financial hardships, but the women’s affairs director pocketed her one day’s money.
These women said they had time and again registered their complaints against the director, but corruption continued.
An official of a charity foundation, Khushal Charity Foundation, Shabana Khushal told Pajhwok Afghan News that they had also received complaints against the women’s affairs director.
She said yesterday the women’s affairs director thrashed a woman after she demanded rickshaw fare from the director who the woman said had pocketed her money being given to participants of the workshops. Khushal said the poor woman had been injured in the foot by the director.
Over the past two months, the training workshops have been taking place as part of the Regional Agricultural Development Program-South (RADP-South) aimed to advance food security, regenerate agribusiness and boost agriculture sector jobs and incomes.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded programme is being managed by DAI, an international development organization.
One of the programme’s monitors, Balqis, said the allegation of corruption in the ongoing workshops was right and that soon a decision in this regard would be taken.
Balqis, who was in southern Kandahar province, told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone that she closely monitored the workshops two days ago in Zabul after complaints.
She said she had prepared a report which she would soon forward to the officials concerned for a decision.
But the women’s affairs director denied any type of corruption in her department and rejected the allegations against her as a conspiracy of her rivals.
Sadiqa Jalal told Pajhwok Afghan News she had committed no corruption in any project since taking office as the provincial women’s affairs director four years ago.
She said if she wanted to take money, she would take it from the NGO not from the poor women. “I have never committed corruption and would not commit in future.”
She also rejected if she had beaten a woman for not giving her money, saying violence was not their norm.
The director said the woman might have been misguided or provoked by her rivals to accuse her of corruption.
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