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Municipality drivers stealing hundreds of liters of fuel

Municipality drivers stealing hundreds of liters of fuel

Mar 20, 2011 - 15:08

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Drivers working for the Kabul municipality are syphoning of hundreds of litres of fuel every day and selling them to dealers in the market.

The drivers, who haul rubbish from the capital, are selling the fuel for between 30 to 35 afghanis per litre to shop keepers who then sell it for 45 afghanis a litre, according to a fuel seller in Gazark market of Khak-i-Jabar district.

The market price for a litre of petrol is 52 afghanis.  

They sell 30 litres from small trucks and double that from larger ones, the vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

He claimed that the rubbish haulers log five trips in and out of the city for which they receive fuel and then sell the fuel for the two trips they did not do.

Lala, another fuel seller in Gazak market, confirmed that the municipality workers were selling their extra fuel.

"Each truck has a barrel of fuel which they sell to the middle man who then sells it from his shop to other drivers."

He said when the municipality workers are asked where they get the fuel from, they say they bring it from Pul-i-Charkhi in their trucks.

A Pajhwok reporter spent two days in the area and witnessed the selling of fuel.

When the trucks get close to the shops, they signal the fuel sellers by flashing their head lights. The vendors follow them in a car to the rubbish dump area where the fuel and the money exchange hands.

One fuel seller in Gazak said he had bought six barrels of petrol from municipality drivers.

The drivers not only sell fuel in Gazak, but everywhere along the road from Shah Shahid in the eighth police district to Khak-i-Jabar district.

Owners of legal petrol stations say the illegal fuel selling is damaging their business.

Noor Ahmad, who has a petrol station in Butkhak, said he was selling only a fraction of the fuel he used to sell. “Before they started selling fuel illegally, we would sell 1,200 to 1,500 litres a day, now we only sell 300."

He said his station was in danger of closing, like two other pumps in the area, unless the government took action against the illegal sales.

Zargai, a shareholder in the Nangarhar fuel station, which is about 4 km from where the municipality workers dump their rubbish, said: "I invested $50,000 in my station, but I can’t sell 100 litres of fuel a day."

In the past, all trucks which carried rocks for construction bought fuel from his petrol station, but now only vehicles which do not know about the illegal sales stop there.

Ahmad Habibi Ghori, who is head of the municipality’s clean city division, admitted that some drivers were selling fuel, but said they were taking action against them.

Ghori said a week ago two drivers were caught selling fuel and were fired from their jobs. In total, 30 drivers had been fired and referred to the attorney general’s office for prosecution.

However, he said corruption was a problem not just in his department, but in all government offices which they were beginning to address.

The department had assigned a commission to monitor and observe drivers and other staff to ensure they were not involved in corruption, Ghori said.

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