The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) on Monday released its first report on extraction of mines in the country, in which it has said the mines' contracts are unclear and were signed after political consideration.
According to officials from MEC, they wrote the report after assessing 60 former contracts, nine active contracts and 266 interviews with people in nine provinces.
MEC in its report said the Taliban, illegal armed groups, a number of members of Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of Parliament) and Meshrano Jirga (the Upper House of Parliament), and even some government departments and officials are involved in illegal mining and mines' smuggling in the country.
“The smuggling and other things we say, could not be done without cooperation from some government departments,” Idris Hashemi, a researcher at MEC said.
MEC says political consideration in signing mines contracts has paved the way for influential figures to interfere in the process and also for illegal groups to get ransom from mines' extractions.
According to the MEC report, illegal armed groups or their men in their areas, receive money as ransom from mines' extractions and even some local government officials, who do not have the authority for collecting mining revenue, are involved in collecting mines' income.
“In some places still, certain people collude. A few companies come together and propose their offer in such a way that their favorite company wins the contract. Again, there remains political consideration in giving contracts and also in the continuation of work by some contractors,” Barry Salaam, chairman of MEC said.
MEC report says that prolonging the signing of mines' contracts and unclear contracts are the biggest challenges that pave the way for intervention by influential people, and create embezzlement and corruption in the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
“Currently when the Afghan government signs contracts, it is unknown what has been contracted. They put in a tender for an area, but it is unknown what materials are there, and what percentage the loss and profit will be,” Javed Noorani, a researcher at MEC said.
MEC officials said in order to prevent problems in mining and mines' contracts, the reform strategy at the Mines and Petroleum Ministry should be reviewed. The contacts of political figures with the ministry’s officials, by all means, should be officially registered and recorded, and good cooperation mechanisms should be built between the mines' ministry and other government departments.