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PAN, August 9, 2010

Voting cards only for those who bribe policemen

Naeem told the reporter he would be allowed to enter the centre whenever he wanted, if he promised to vote in favour of Zazai

KABUL - A voting card distribution centre in the heart of Kabul has been favouring certain parliamentary election candidates, Pajhwok has reliably learnt.

The centre in the Chaman-i-Hozori neighbourhood remains open even on Fridays for students and other people who could not receive their cards on official working days.

On last Friday (August 6), a closed holiday, a Pajhwok reporter saw police allowing supporters of particular parliamentary candidates to receive the cards after paying bribes.

Dozens of people queued outside the centre in the hope to get cards on Friday. However, only few were allowed to go inside and receive their cards.In order to learn what was going on inside the centre, the Pajhwok reporter tried to enter, posing as a voter. But the policemen on duty refused to let him in.

After paying 330 afghanis in bribe, police let him enter the centre. He learnt that 10 people had been let in at the behest of Naeem, a campaigner for Qader Zazai. They had paid 1,000 afghani as a bribe.

Naeem told the reporter he would be allowed to enter the centre whenever he wanted, if he promised to vote in favour of Zazai.

An official at the center, Haji Sultan, acknowledged police did not allow many people to enter the centre. However, he denied receiving bribes from voters.

But prospective voters alleged Haji Sultan himself asked individual standing in queues to go inside.

Wali Muhammad, 45, from Khaki Jabbar district, said he had come to the centre on Friday, because he did not have time on official working days.

He reached the office at 7am. Although hundreds of people, who supported certain candidates, were issued cards, he was refused entry.

Another man, Najibullah, came to the centre at 8am but had to leave at 1pm without any voting card.

A spokesman for the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), Ahmad Zia Rafat, said they had received no complaint of bribery at any centre.

But the Independent Election Commission head for the central zone, Haji Gul Wahaj, acknowledged that some security personnel misused their authority on Fridays.

Category: Corruption - Views: 5691