Newly-available documents seen by TOLOnews indicate that the acting minister of finance--and top adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani-- Mohammad Humayun Qayoumi, received $450,000 from a California university in 2015, where he had served as president between 2011 and 2014.
These documents—along with others shown to Tolonews earlier in the month—reveal a number of different sources of income for Qayoumi. In fact, in 2016 he apparently held several positions simultaneously:
in 2016 Qayoumi received a $270,000 salary from California State University, documents show.
Also in 2016, Qayoumi received a $105,000 salary from the US-based Institute For State Effectiveness, an organization of which President Ashraf Ghani is a founder, according to documents previously shown to Tolonews.
Finally, in 2016 Qayoumi was also serving as Ghani’s adviser.
Further, there is a discrepancy between Qayoumi’s asset registration forms for his salary when he was serving as university president, and what the US university has on record.
“There are thousands of asset registration forms of the top government officials, but these forms are never assessed independently to detect illegal assets,” said NaserTaimoori, a researcher for Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA).
Based on the asset registration document, Qayoumi was receiving $45,000 per month while serving as president of California State University between 2011 and 2014.
But the documents of California State University do not show that Qayoumi was receiving a $45,000 a month salary from the school.
There is an asset registration published on the website of the Office of Chief of Staff to the President that states that Qayoumi receives a $19,000 per month from California State University, however that money is pension money from earlier employment.
These and earlier reports have brought attention from government officials and watchdog groups:
“In Afghanistan, a soldier puts his life on the front lines for 10,000Afs to safeguard the country’s dignity and pride. But a customs worker who is involved in corruption earns between $1,000 to $20,000 a day. There is a need for a complete overhaul in the Ministry of Finance and a restructuring that should also include the Minister of Finance,” said Abdul Sattar Hussaini, a member of parliament.
“All foreign countries, NGOs, and international organizations who pay salaries to high-level members of the Afghan government need to be revealed so we can ascertain who received what amount, from which source. I believe that the one who gives the money, he gives the orders,” said Ramazan Bashardost, a member of parliament.
On October 17, The Afghan Senate’s Complaints Commission referredQayoumi to the Attorney General, following reports that he had received a $255,000 salary from the Ghani-founded Institute for State Effectiveness in 2017.
Presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil cited this as evidence that the Afghan Ministry of Finance had given contracts to the Institute for State Effectiveness, without transparency.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also called for an investigation to be launched to assess the $255,000 salary received byQayoumi.
Qayoumi was appointed as acting minister of finance a year ago.
Previously, Qayoumi has faced severe criticism for his failure to attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, as well as for his trips abroad, and for his absence from the ministry.
The head of Qayoumi’s office said that the acting Minister of Finance does not have any opinion on the matter.