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MPs: '$8 Million Embezzled Daily' at Customs

The Afghan acting minister of finance on Wednesday did not deny claims by lawmakers in Parliament who alleged that $8 million worth of revenue is being embezzled at customs on a daily basis, but he did say there are reports of corruption involving governors, police commanders, employees of the Ministry of Finance as well as ordinary citizens. 

Meanwhile, the Minister of Commerce and Industries said that there is also extortion on the highways, and mentioned that along with corruption, the poor economy is a factor. 

The two cabinet ministers made the remarks during a session in Parliament. Both were summoned by the Wolesi Jirga, the house of representatives, to account for the recent fires that destroyed fuel trucks in Herat, Farah and Kabul provinces.

“The vehicles get stopped in large numbers and then problems are created,” said an MP from Kandahar, Gul Ahmad Kamin.

“The businessmen are leaving the country due to corruption and the policy that exists in your ministry right now,” said MP Shagofa Noorzai.

Meanwhile, other lawmakers criticized the large salaries of some government employees.

“The head of Breshna Sherkat (Afghanistan’s main electricity supplying body) is around 619,000 Afs, the head of ATRA also receives nearly 600,000 Afs, which is equal to the salaries of 100 teachers,” said MP Abdul Rauf Enaami.

“$8 million is being embezzled at customs on a daily basis, I think it is not less than the oppression and treason that the armed opponents impose on the Afghan people,” said MP Mir Haidar Afzali.

“Unfortunately, in some areas, it is the governors, the local police commanders, commissioners and anyone who has the power {doing corruption},” said Mohammad Khaled Payenda, the acting minister of finance.

“For instance, in one province where the president had made a trip--after his trip, one of the heads of the Haj and Pilgrimage department telephoned and told his colleague: 'I did not disclose your name and now you must send me my share,'” added Payenda.

“Everywhere there is plundering; they are looting the businessmen,” said Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani, the minister of commerce and industries.

The minister of transport did not attend the session and lawmakers called for him to be impeached in the near future. 

Despite persistent calls by lawmakers, the minister of finance did not disclose the names of those accused of corruption.

MPs: '$8 Million Embezzled Daily' at Customs

“The businessmen are leaving the country due to corruption and the policy that exists in your ministry right now,” said MP Shagofa Noorzai.

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The Afghan acting minister of finance on Wednesday did not deny claims by lawmakers in Parliament who alleged that $8 million worth of revenue is being embezzled at customs on a daily basis, but he did say there are reports of corruption involving governors, police commanders, employees of the Ministry of Finance as well as ordinary citizens. 

Meanwhile, the Minister of Commerce and Industries said that there is also extortion on the highways, and mentioned that along with corruption, the poor economy is a factor. 

The two cabinet ministers made the remarks during a session in Parliament. Both were summoned by the Wolesi Jirga, the house of representatives, to account for the recent fires that destroyed fuel trucks in Herat, Farah and Kabul provinces.

“The vehicles get stopped in large numbers and then problems are created,” said an MP from Kandahar, Gul Ahmad Kamin.

“The businessmen are leaving the country due to corruption and the policy that exists in your ministry right now,” said MP Shagofa Noorzai.

Meanwhile, other lawmakers criticized the large salaries of some government employees.

“The head of Breshna Sherkat (Afghanistan’s main electricity supplying body) is around 619,000 Afs, the head of ATRA also receives nearly 600,000 Afs, which is equal to the salaries of 100 teachers,” said MP Abdul Rauf Enaami.

“$8 million is being embezzled at customs on a daily basis, I think it is not less than the oppression and treason that the armed opponents impose on the Afghan people,” said MP Mir Haidar Afzali.

“Unfortunately, in some areas, it is the governors, the local police commanders, commissioners and anyone who has the power {doing corruption},” said Mohammad Khaled Payenda, the acting minister of finance.

“For instance, in one province where the president had made a trip--after his trip, one of the heads of the Haj and Pilgrimage department telephoned and told his colleague: 'I did not disclose your name and now you must send me my share,'” added Payenda.

“Everywhere there is plundering; they are looting the businessmen,” said Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani, the minister of commerce and industries.

The minister of transport did not attend the session and lawmakers called for him to be impeached in the near future. 

Despite persistent calls by lawmakers, the minister of finance did not disclose the names of those accused of corruption.

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