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Watchdog Reports Fraud in Customs Office Appointments

The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), in a report released on June 29, says hundreds of dollars are taken as bribes for appointments at customs and revenue offices of the Finance Ministry for low-ranking to high-ranking posts.

The report says the appointments are done through “personal brokers” of customs chiefs and that many officials in customs offices are appointed based on political and family relations.

The report, which is focused on areas vulnerable to corruption in customs and revenue departments of the Finance Ministry, states that one employee of a customs office has said that his documents were processed for his appointment with the help of a “broker” but to finalize his appointment, he was asked by officials to pay $30,000. The official has said that he went back to the broker to ask his help and he was told that it is “usual” and that he has to pay the money.

“Employees are appointed based on relations and bribe,” a MEC researcher Ajmal Shakir said. “Our findings show that people are given appointments in exchange for ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars for grade 1 to grade 6 positions.”

Government posts start from the "sixth grade" and ascend to the "first grade" as an employee gets promoted.

Problems in appointments are one of the eight key points in departments of the Finance Ministry found by the report.

“The government has not done anything to bring reform to this,” said Ikram Afzali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan. “This has resulted in the continuation of organized corruption in customs.”

The MEC report also says that customs officials in provinces are appointed based on their personal and family relations with heads of customs and most of such individuals are appointed in order to “embezzle” national revenues.

The report mentions that only two out of eight officials in some customs offices are professional. The rest are not suitable and have been selected without any consideration for their qualifications.

The report finds alleged interference by government officials, MPs and “warlords” in the activities of the two departments and says they have provided conditions for corruption in the two offices.

“The income (customs revenue) decreases every day, but their personal income is increasing,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.

“When a person purchases a position, he will think about earning, not national revenue,” said Azim Kebarzani, an MP.

The Ministry of Finance rejected the allegations, saying there is no evidence in this respect, but they will try to address the problems.

“There are allegations and rumors that customs posts are sold,” Finance Ministry spokesman Shamroz Khan Masjidi said. “So far, evidence has not been handed to the Ministry of Finance in this regard. If there are any cases of this, it will be stopped.”

Watchdog Reports Fraud in Customs Office Appointments

The Ministry of Finance rejects the findings, saying there is no evidence to prove such allegations.

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The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), in a report released on June 29, says hundreds of dollars are taken as bribes for appointments at customs and revenue offices of the Finance Ministry for low-ranking to high-ranking posts.

The report says the appointments are done through “personal brokers” of customs chiefs and that many officials in customs offices are appointed based on political and family relations.

The report, which is focused on areas vulnerable to corruption in customs and revenue departments of the Finance Ministry, states that one employee of a customs office has said that his documents were processed for his appointment with the help of a “broker” but to finalize his appointment, he was asked by officials to pay $30,000. The official has said that he went back to the broker to ask his help and he was told that it is “usual” and that he has to pay the money.

“Employees are appointed based on relations and bribe,” a MEC researcher Ajmal Shakir said. “Our findings show that people are given appointments in exchange for ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars for grade 1 to grade 6 positions.”

Government posts start from the "sixth grade" and ascend to the "first grade" as an employee gets promoted.

Problems in appointments are one of the eight key points in departments of the Finance Ministry found by the report.

“The government has not done anything to bring reform to this,” said Ikram Afzali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan. “This has resulted in the continuation of organized corruption in customs.”

The MEC report also says that customs officials in provinces are appointed based on their personal and family relations with heads of customs and most of such individuals are appointed in order to “embezzle” national revenues.

The report mentions that only two out of eight officials in some customs offices are professional. The rest are not suitable and have been selected without any consideration for their qualifications.

The report finds alleged interference by government officials, MPs and “warlords” in the activities of the two departments and says they have provided conditions for corruption in the two offices.

“The income (customs revenue) decreases every day, but their personal income is increasing,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.

“When a person purchases a position, he will think about earning, not national revenue,” said Azim Kebarzani, an MP.

The Ministry of Finance rejected the allegations, saying there is no evidence in this respect, but they will try to address the problems.

“There are allegations and rumors that customs posts are sold,” Finance Ministry spokesman Shamroz Khan Masjidi said. “So far, evidence has not been handed to the Ministry of Finance in this regard. If there are any cases of this, it will be stopped.”

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