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Selling Government Posts; the untold stories of corruption

Published Date: July 15, 2017

 

The Center for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) has received information that suggests the selling of the high-ranking government positions.

CSRS’s received this information at a time that, in one of his pieces, the former Minister of Information and Culture Abdul Bari Jahani shared one of his bitter memories from the time of his nomination for the post of the Ministry of Information and Culture and gaining confidence vote from Wolesi Jirga. In this piece, Jahani has accused the members of Wolesi Jirga for taking money from the nominated ministers. He has said that the deputy speaker of Wolsi Jirga Abdul Zaher Qadir had invited the nominated ministers and had told them to give $5000 to $10000 ($50000 in total) to the Parliament members to win their votes of confidence. [1]

Jahani’s piece raised vast reactions in the social media; therefore, the Afghan Parliament reacted as well. Nader Khan Katawazai, a member of the Parliament from the Paktika province has criticized Jahani and has said, “If, according to what Jahani claims, he has not given money to the Parliament members, how has he won the confidence vote in the Parliament?” The former deputy speaker and current member of Wolesi Jirga Abdul Zaher Qadir has also rejected Jahani’s accusations and has said, “Jahani’s allegations are baseless. Jahani should have resigned at that time and must have shared the issue with the Nation, but he is raising voices from the US after two years, and one year after his dismissal from the ministry.” [2]

Are government positions being sold? What are the impacts of such deeds in the fight against corruption? What is the role of Wolesi Jirga in corruption? How can we overcome these challenges? These are the questions that are analyzed here.

 

Selling the government positions; the heinous cycle of corruption

If one studies the reports and surveys of the International Transparency, Asia Foundation, Integrity Watch Afghanistan and some other organizations, one will find out that corruption is a major challenge in the country. On the one hand, corruption is annually increasing and, on the other hand, it is a major obstacle in the way of governance and development. Corruption wastes money, affects services and affects the lower class of the society the most. There are many factors behind the corruption in the country including the low salaries of government employees, greed, lack of accountability, etc.

In the meanwhile, another factor behind corruption in the Afghan organizations is the heinous cycle of corruption or the selling of government posts in low, medium, and high levels. It is due to the selling and purchasing of government positions that those who buy government positions get involved in corruption to get the money that he had spent to purchase the position in the first place.

In its report in 2007, IWA has also mentioned selling and purchasing of the government positions as one of the primary reasons behind corruption in the country. Also, the Afghan media, have broadcasted many programs that suggest the selling of government positions in the country. For instance, in order to become a teacher, one needs to pay Af 80000. [3]

 

Government officials: the sellers of jobs

The primary factor behind the corruption in the country lies with the government officials because they are the pioneers of fights against corruption and if there is a lack of sincerity in this struggle, it will be unlikely to have a corruption-free administration in the country.

Government’s failure in implementing the law, political exploitation of corruption in the judicial sectors, non-implementation of accountability, interfering in signing the contracts, and some others are factors behind corruption in the country. In addition to these factors, another factor is the sales of government positions by government officials.

In this regard, some findings of CSRS show that the government officials are involved in selling and purchasing government jobs. Here are some of the examples that CSRS has taken from credible sources:

  • One of the advisors of the Chief Executive in condition of anonymity has said to CSRS that he was nominated for the post of governor in one of the provinces, and an official from the Office of Affairs of the Presidential Palace had approached him and demanded $150 thousand and had told him, “do not pay the money unless you become the governor.”
  • Asking for not revealing their name, some heads of the provincial departments of the Ministry of Education has said to CSRS that the Minister of Education has demanded $50 thousand to remain in their positions. It occurs at a time that the exams of the CBR process were being held in the country.
  • According to another credible source, the posts of head of the provincial departments of the Ministry of Public works are being sold for 30-50 thousand dollars. According to the source, one of the current chairmen of the provincial department of the Ministry of Public Works took this position paying $35 thousand after he failed to take the post through legal channels. Head of another provincial department of this ministry is appointed after paying $40 thousand.
  • A minister of the former government also, under the condition of not revealing his/her name, said that some female members of the parliament raised the issue of summoning him/her. At that time a member of the Parliament Abdul Zaher Qadeer had invited him/her into his house and, after passing through three rooms, had told him/her that each of the ten female representatives wanted $20 thousand to allow him to continue with his job. He added that after some times, he invited these female members of the parliament in his office and shared the issue with them, but that they denied all of these allegations and said that they were unaware of the issue.

 

The role of Wolesi Jirga in corruption

Abdul Bari Jahani’s article is not the first incident of raising Wolesi Jirga’s involvement in corruption; before this, the media have repeatedly broadcasted similar reports. In addition, members of the parliament were also accused of interfering in the government’s affairs and promoting nepotism and corruption in the administrations in the past. In this regard, we can mention the remarks of the former Minister of Interior Affairs Mujtaba Patang in the Security Council of the country. [4]

In the meanwhile, in a summon meeting of Wolesi Jirga, the former Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal accused some members of the Parliament of smuggling flour, narcotics and alcohol. According to Zakhilwal, these members of the parliament included Haji Zaher Qadir, Lalai Hamidzai, Arif Rahmani, Mahmood Khan Slimankhail, Mohammad Azim Mohseni and Samiullah Samim. Zakhilwal also said that the representatives of the people also had some other illegal demands from him as well; he stated that Arif Rahmani had told him, “I have suffered a $1m loss in trade. Help me take the contract from the Supreme Company.” He also said that Arif Rahmani had warned him that he would be summoned to the parliament if he did not cooperate with him. [5] 

Jahani’s piece is only another example of the involvement of the members of Wolesi Jirga in corruption, and that is why, in some of its reports and press conferences, IWA indicates the involvement of Wolesi Jirga in corruption in the country. For instance, in 1394, IWA released a report on corruption, in which it stated that “Some members of the Parliament and the Cabinet are involved in corruption in the mining sector.” [6]

 

Breaking the heinous cycle of corruption

Why Jahani made such remarks after two years is a question we do not want to focus upon. However, at a time that Wolesi Jirga’s tenure is finished and elections to elect new representatives are going to be held shortly, Jahani’s these remarks must be seriously taken into consideration.

We must remember that all the ministers and all the people who have accused members of the parliament of corruption cannot be lying nor had the accused people proved themselves innocent from these allegations. Therefore, this cycle of corruption must break. The upcoming election is a perfect opportunity to replace these representatives with the new ones, and thus eliminate the corruption resources of the former members of the parliament.

The end

[1] TOLO News, «متهم شدن اعضای مجلس نماینده‌گان به گرفتن پول از نامزد وزیران» [Members of the parliament were accuse of taking money from the nominated candidates for the ministries], 13 Saratan 1396, read it here:

http://www.tolonews.com/fa/afghanistan/%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%85-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%B6%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87%E2%80%8C%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA%D9%86-%D9%BE%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B2%D8%AF-%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86

[2]  Ariana News, «ظاهر قدیر اتهام عبدالباری جهانی را رد کرد» [Zaher Qadir rejected the accusations of Abdul Bari Jahani], 13 Saratan 1396, read it here:

http://ariananews.af/%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%B1-%D9%82%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D8%AF-%DA%A9/?lang=fa

[3] Ariana News, «ولسي جرګه: دولتي ټاکنې په اړیکو او پيسو کېږي» [Wolesi Jirga: government appointments are by money and relationships], 1 Oct 2016, read it here:

http://ariananews.af/%D9%88%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%8A-%D8%AC%D8%B1%DA%AB%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%8A-%D9%BC%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%90-%D9%BE%D9%87-%D8%A7%DA%93%D9%8A%DA%A9%D9%88-%D8%A7%D9%88-%D9%BE%D9%8A%D8%B3%D9%88/?lang=ps

Salam Watandar, «په غزني کې دولتي بستونه پلورل کېږي» [Government posts in Ghazni are being sold], 2 Assad 1395:

http://salamwatandar.com/pashto/article.aspx?a=23988

[4] BBC Dari, زاخیلوال: شماری از نمایندګان پارلمان در قاچاق آرد دست دارند [Zakhilwal: some members of the parliament are involved in smuggling flour], 11 May 2013, read it online:

http://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan/2013/05/130511_mar_zakhelwal_smuggler_mps

[5] DW, «نام نمایندگان متهم به دست داشتن در قاچاق افشا شد» [The names of the parliament members accused of being involved in smuggling is revealed], 13 May 2013, read it here:

http://www.dw.com/fa-af/a-16808934

[6] VOA, «افضلی: برخی اعضای کابینه و پارلمان در فساد معادن دست دارند» [Afzali: some members of the parliament and the cabinet are involved in corruption in mines], 14 Sawr 1394, read it online:

https://www.darivoa.com/a/corruption-charges-on-some-cabinet-members-and-mps-in-illegal-mining-/3837354.html

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