Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, May 26th, 2017

Study Uncovers $10m Bribery Bid in Mines

Study Uncovers $10m  Bribery Bid in Mines

KABUL - A recent investigation shows high-ranking Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) officials have been trying to give contracts for 217 extraction projects in exchange for $10 million in bribe.
The study by the Afghan Anti-Corruption Network (AACN) named “Looting of mines and apparent scandal at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP)” was released at a press conference here.
The study has been conducted by interviewing people, experts and MoMP officials in four provinces in a period of four months.
The findings claim MoMP authorities were recently tending to give 217 mines extraction contracts to powerful men, public representatives’ affiliates, ministers and politicians against 100,000 dollars in average for each project in bribe, amounting to a total of $10 million.
The report finds the government has not taken any step to recover $11 million payable by 14 companies for years.
Currently 500 truckloads of minerals are daily smuggled abroad from Afghanistan through border areas, with Transport Ministry officials, local authorities and security forces getting their palms greased.
The investigative report further says most of the country’s mines are under Taliban’s control. The rebels extract the riches and earn hundreds of millions of dollars, using the money for buying weapons and ammunition.
Khan Zaman Amarkhel, AACN head, expressed his concern over the unprofessional extraction of mines by unauthorized individuals, asking the government to prevent such projects from going into wrong hands.
He said Afghanistan’s natural resources should not be part of political deals and serious steps should be taken towards preventing corruption in the sector.
However, MoMP officials denied corruption in the ministry’s affairs. Zabihullah Sarwari, MoMP spokesman, said about 100 projects had been referred to the National Procurement Commission after being processed.
He said the projects would be put out to bid their approval by the procurement commission.
About companies owing money to the government, Sarwari said letters had been sent to these firms, asking them to pay land lease and taxes. Some of the companies had cleared their debt and the remaining were obliged to do so.   (Pajhwok)