Khost custom officials accused of blatant corruption
KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): The provincial council head and other quarters in southeastern Khost province have accused a number of custom officials of involvement in rampant corruption.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the provincial council head, Abdul Wali Wahidzai, alleged the employment of under-qualified individuals in the custom department had paved the ground for corruption.
He claimed graft had reached its peak in the department since Sangar Niazai’s appointment as director. For example, Wahidzai said: “Some days earlier, security forces seized a truck full of ammonium nitrite in Musakhel district.
“But custom officials released the vehicle on the pretext that it was carrying feed for birds,” he revealed, accusing custom officers of receiving bribes from traders and truck drivers on one pretext or another.
“The director pockets 100,000 afghanis from each custom post every month. We have documents in support of this claim,” the public representative claimed.
Haji Jamal Tanai, head of the Khost Urban Union, told Pajhwok fundamental reforms were needed in the custom department to resolve the current problems.
“The custom duty should be assessed on a daily basis, but some people here don’t do so and thus facilitate corruption,” he believed.
Pajhwok tried to get comments from Custom DirectorSangar Niazai on the issue, but he referred this scribe to the Ministry of Finance.
Meanwhile, the governor’s spokesman, Mubarez Zadran, confirmed corruption in the department and said the government was committed to eradicating the scourge from all offices.
“Unfortunately, I confirm corruption in the custom department and capital flight from the province, but it does not mean the local government is not taking action to remedy the situation,” he observed.
Also, Ministry of Finance spokesmanAjmal Abdur Rahimzai did not rule out corruption in the custom department, but said clear evidencewas needed for decisive action to ensure reforms.
“If the parliament, the provincial council or media have evidenceof corruption in Khost, Nangarhar or any other province, they can share it with the ministry and we will take action,” he promised.
Rahimzai said the new leadership of the ministry was serious about fighting corruption.
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