By Saleha Soadat
The oversight committee for Ministry of Defense (MoD) agreements has revealed the extent of corruption regarding fuel contracts – corruption that totals about $100 million USD.
The committee said that leading companies collaborated with each other and with MoD, the Directorate of Reconstruction and Development and the Special Procurement Committee and charged Afghanistan over $100 million USD above the daily market rate.
In addition the committee found that senior officials from MoD, the Directorate of Reconstruction and Development of Afghanistan and the Special Procurement Commission were involved in the deal.
The former minister of economy and justice, along with the former Minister of Finance were members of the Special Procurement Commission.
The committee reports that so far, it has found that after signing a contract with one of the companies, one official was paid up to $5 million USD as a bribe. The committee has recommended to President Ashraf Ghani that the government officials involved must be fired and that legal action be taken against them.
In addition the committee found that senior officials from MoD, the Directorate of Reconstruction and Development of Afghanistan and the Special Procurement Commission (members: former minister of economy, justice, finance) were involved in the deal.
"The quotations that were taken at the time by ISAF, another office of procurement at the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, are still present and show that the contract was at least $100 million USD more," says Hamidullah Farooqi, Chairman of the Oversight Committee for the Ministry of Defense Agreements.
Hazrat Omer Zakhailwal, former Minister of Finance and current economic adviser to the president on economic issues was allegedly one of the people thought to have been involved in the signing of the contract. He was serving as the chairman of the commission for special procurement when the contract was signed.
Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, former minister of economy, who was also a member of the special procurement commission, says that Hazrat Omer Zakhailwal must respond to the accusations. TOLOnews was unable to get comment from Hazrat Omer Zakhialwal.
A number of economic analysts have emphasized the seriousness of this and have called for justice to prevail especially as the officials were all in senior positions.
"The main issue is the fight against corruption. Any official who is involved in corruption, even if its the adviser to the president, his vice president and even if it's the president himself," says Aziz Asefi, Economic Analyst.
Senior government officials from the MoD are also thought to have been involved in the $100 million USD corruption scandal but ministry officials refused to comment.However, chairman of the Directorate of Reconstruction and Development of Afghanistan Abdul Wakil Hanifi rejects the accusations.
"There are documents that show we have not violated anything. The committee should review again and if possible, another committee must be appointed to review the matter," says Abdul Wakil Hanifi.
The agreement was made with Ghazanfar oil, Abdul Wase Faqiri, North One Logistic Services and General Logistics for the total value of $900 million USD over three years. The price for one liter of fuel according to the contract is 60 AFN.
The committee has asked the president to seize properties owned by government officials who are accused of being involved and have called for them to be investigated and if found guilty to be fired and to be charged in a court of law.
TOLOnews was unfortunately unable to get comment from anyone at Ghazanfar Group. However, Hamidullah Farooqi, Chairman of the Oversight Committee for MoD contracts said: "The issue of bribes is the case here, one of the officials has been paid up to $5 million USD."
The committee has asked the president to also legally pursue the companies who have not been transparent with regards to the contracts.
The findings of the commission were discussed with President Ghani on Wednesday and he has approved them.
In addition to reviewing the fuel contract of the MoD, the committee has reviewed 11 other MoD contracts, the findings of which will be revealed soon.