A recent report by Afghan Anti-Corruption Network (AACN) reveals that corruption and bribery has increased in mining contracts at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
This has been worsened by weak management in the ministry and has resulted in a number of powerful figures getting access to contracts.
The report says at least 217 mining projects contracts will be signed with powerful figures and those connected to MPs and government officials in the near future in exchange for bribes.
The report adds that hundreds of vehicles loaded with mineral stones are smuggled to other countries daily.
“According to the information mentioned in the report, at least 100,000 USD has been taken as bribes for each contract to be given to their favorite people,” the AACN chairman Khan Zaman Amarkhail said.
The report says 14 out of 950 contractors owed almost $10 million USD to the Mines Ministry.
“Issues like land rent and other incomes which the ministry should take from the companies have not been paid to government. According to our report, the companies owed $10 million USD to the government,” Amarkhail said.
However, the Ministry of Mines rejected bribing in the organization and said at least 100 to-be-signed contracts have been assessed so far.
“They are 100 contracts not 217. We reject the existence of bribes in this respect and we are about to ask the network [AACN] to provide us documents and evidence about this,” the Ministry of Mines spokesman Zabihullah Sarwari said.
The report meanwhile reveals that illegal mining has considerably increased in recent years and currently illegal mining is done in 750 places in Kabul, 100 places in Panjshir, over 200 places in Badakhshan and more than 100 places in Laghman, Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.
“More money will be channeled to militants from illegal mining if government failed to have a political will to prevent corruption and remove the problems. The money will be used in ruining of the country if the problem was not resolved,” said Zabihullah, member of the network.