The Democracy 4 Afghanistan (D4A) – an institution which says it helps candidates who are young, educated and have people’s support – has been accused of providing financial and political support to certain candidates.
Some parliamentary candidates, who talked to TOLOnews this week, said D4A belongs to individuals close to President Ashraf Ghani and that it does not have the legal permission for operation in Afghanistan. The candidates said there are ambiguities about D4A’s financial resources.
The candidates said D4A pays “huge amounts” of money to certain candidates and that it provide them with political support during their campaign.
According to the candidates, the institution supports candidates to act based on the plan its gives to them.
“As far as I know, they (D4A) provide to 100,000 dollars to one person (candidate). But they have not given the money at once and the people who havereceived the money, some of them have received $10,000 US dollars and some of them $15,000 US dollars,” said Helai Ershad, a parliamentary election candidate.
“They support the candidates if the candidates act based on the plan they provide to them,” said Sayed Mujtaba Anwari, a parliamentary electionscandidate.
“A family member of President Ghani, one of his former advisors who has resigned and was awarded a medal and one of the former ministers who has also resigned and was awarded a medal are engaged in this issue and the financial support mostly comes from them,” Ershad said.
In reaction to these allegations, Nisar Karimzai, an official from the D4A, said they do not provide financial support to candidates.
“The D4A has not promised any financial support to any candidates and also there isn’t any evidence which says we have provided them (candidates) with financial support,” Karimzai told TOLOnews.
Karimzai said they, likewise other civil institutions, are registered in the Ministry of Economy and that they have the legal permission to operate in Afghanistan.
“We are registered in the Ministry of Economy,” said Karimzai.
Karimzai said the institution has no ties with people around President Ghani.
“He (Ajmal Ghani) is our best friend, but he is not the owner of the company. Like Ghani and Noorzai Sahib, there are few other people as well,” said Karimzai.
To find out the truth about the allegations of the candidates, TOLOnews asked Ministry of Economy to comment on the registration of the institution in the ministry.
Suhrab Bahman, a spokesman for Ministry of Economy, said no non-government organization is registered in the ministry under the name of D4A.
“The Democracy 4 Afghanistan is not registered as a non-government organization in the Ministry of Economy,” Bahman said.
An official from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) meanwhile said they not aware about the Democracy 4 Afghanistan activities and that if the institution interferes in the election campaign, it should face legal action.
“The intelligence departments should give us some information (about D4A) to help us make clear the fate the institution,” IEC spokesman Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said.
An electoral monitoring institution said such an organization does not have the right to support certain candidates or engage in election campaign, unless they have the permission from the election commission.
“Any organization which works and is engaged in election affairs should have obtained a permission letter from the election commission,” said Mohammad Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
Based on Afghanistan’s laws, providing support to candidates by civil institutions and political parties is in contravention of the law, but the law saysinstitutions shall provide clear information about their legal permission of operation, financial sources and their ownership, if they want to operate in this respect.