Waheed Omer, presidential adviser and head of the Office of Public and Strategic Affairs of the President, in response to a media report last week listing his office's receipt of Afs30 million ($392,000) of Code 91 funds, said the amount was part of the government’s allocation for his office.
He said if someone calls the spending of the amount "embezzlement" and "corruption" it will cause suffering for the hard-working employees of his office, who are all "supporters of families."
Omer said that his office was established in March 2019 and that its expenses—mentioned in the report—were not part of the budget of that year, and the use of funds from Code 91 was necessary.
A report published last week by Etilaatroz newspaper states that over Afs2 billion ($25.9 million) from the government's emergency fund known as Code 91 has been spent for the personal expenses of over a dozen government officials in the solar year 1398 (March 2019 to March 2020).
The report shows that over Afs129 million ($1.6 million) has been spent for house rent, vehicle rent, daily expenses, bonuses for employees, apartment purchases, and travel expenses for 15 government officials and their staff.
According to the report, presidential adviser Waheed Omer has received over Afs30 million ($392,000), presidential envoy Umer Daudzai has received Afs13,561,000 ($175,000), presidential adviser Fazl Mahmoud Fazli has received Afs12,912,624 ($167,000) and presidential adviser Mohammad Afzal Ludin has received Afs11,582,455 ($150,000).
The report also shows that former president Hamid Karzai has received Afs11,700,000 ($151,000) from the code.
“My colleagues are working day and night to provide information to the people, to raise the voice of the Afghan people to the Afghan president, to facilitate work of media outlets and thousands of other activities. (No matter) if the president has paid their salary from Code 91, or Code 92 or Code 93, we do not have a problem with it. They are the youth of this country. Every one of them, including me, are supporters of a family,” Omer said.
The spending of Code 91 funds, which is an emergency budgetary unit, has been widely criticized.
“The government is doing service for itself, not for the nation,” said Shamsuddin, a Kabul resident.
“We should make efforts to have a good future, but when we see them, we lose hope for life,” said Mohib Rustamzada, a student.
Previously, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi questioned the report on the spending of the Code 91 budget.
But Etilaatroz editor-in-chief Zaki Daryabi said the media outlet is ready for government responses.
“I think today Waheed Omer (indirectly) said that Sediq Sediqqi is lying. Waheed Omer admitted that the Etilaatroz report is based on strong evidence, but Sediq Sediqqi recently questioned the amounts provided in the Etilaatroz findings,” Daryabi said.