The government spent 2.6 billion Afghanis from Code 91 this year, but only 1 billion Afghanis was supposed to be in the emergency fund, according to the agreed-upon budget, say members of the Afghan parliament’s budget and finance commission on Saturday.
Codes 91 and 92 are two emergency funds within the government budget that cannot be accessed except by the president’s order. The Presidential Palace and Ministry of Finance have been under scrutiny for channeling money into and out of these funds in order to avoid scrutiny or expenditures.
The budget and finance commission’s finding of excess expenditures follows a December 18 statement by members of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of the Afghan parliament, who said they are concerned about the increase of money in Code 91, an emergency fund, which they say is spent on unnecessary projects.
According to the commission, this year, one billion Afghanis had been allocated for the Code 91, but members of commission said that reports show that the expenditures from this code exceeded 2.6 billion Afghanis.
The budget allocated for the Code 91 last year was around 1.3 billion Afghanis, but the Ministry of Finance, by the order of the president and by amending other codes, increased the overall expenses from the code 3.2 billion Afghanis.
“They weren’t prepared to provide us the details about where they invested the money. If they are not willing to provide information, of course, this means that there are shortcomings and problems and there is a misuse of authority,” said Azim Mohseni, the head of parliament’s budget and finance commission.
Although, there is no information about how the money was spent from Code 91, there is speculation that last year most of the amount disbursed from Code 91 was spent on house rent and other allowances of some high ranking officials of the government and political figures.
“The emergency code for 2018 surpassed international limits several times and this caused major violations in its spending,” said Nasir Taimoori, a researcher from Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA).
“The demand made by the budget and finance commission was the implementation of article 69 of the constitution which is related to the president of the Islamic republic of Afghanistan,” said Shafiqa Sakha, a member of parliament.
“Money from Code 91 is spent by government officials and strongmen and they use it for their Dubai tours, visas and food,” said Amir Mohammad, a resident in Kabul.
“Our environment is getting worse day by day, this money should be spent in this area--on hospitals where there are patients who need help,” said Rukhsar, a resident in Kabul.
However, Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, the acting minister of finance, said at the Wolesi Jirga session last Monday that transferring money from other codes to Code 91 is legal. “The transferring takes place based on necessity and to make sure there is a balance between miscellaneous codes.”