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Finance Minister reveals MPs involved in smuggling

in Afghan Business

Finance Minister reveals MPs involved in smuggling

Hazrat Omar ZakhilwalAfghan finance minister on Monday revealed the names of lawmakers that he claims are involved in smuggling and other illegal activities.

The Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal was summoned to the parliament over his comments about involvement of a number of lawmakers in illegal activities including smuggling, of alcohol, fuel and flour.

The Afghan lawmakers who were asking explanation about the minister’s comments, questioned him why he had never raised the issue before.

“Dear Minister! Why did you not reveal the smuggling and deals of lawmakers before being called to the parliament? You have ignored the crimes. In fact, you are an accomplice,” Member of Parliament Abdul Latif Pedram said.

The finance minister accused Mohammad Zahir Qadir, Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamedzai, Mohammad Arif Rahmani, Mahmmod Khan Sulaiman Khil, Azim Mohsini and Samiullah Samim of making illegal demands and being involved in smuggling.

“May Allah take my family from me if I have [personally] spent one Afghani of government’s money or even if I intend to do so! And may Allah take the lives of the lawmakers who are involved in deals, corruption and wouldn’t let me serve my country,” Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said.

Haji Mohammad Zaher Qadir, Nangarhar parliamentarian was the first one Zakhilwal named.

The finance minister said that Haji Zaher Qadir has not paid $269 million of government tax since importing of hundreds of trucks of wheat flour in the past three years.

Afghan finance minister got a vote of confidence at the end of the meeting.

“The finance minister remains in his position with majority of votes of confidence,” Parliament Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi said.

Meanwhile, the accused lawmakers are dismissing the accusations.

“I am ready to resign from my position if they find proof about my personal demands or dealing,” Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamedzai said.

Official at the Afghan Attorney General’s Office said that they have received a letter about the issue.

“An official letter is received about lawmakers accused of smuggling and dealings, and we will seriously investigate about it,” Attoreny General’s Spokesman Basir Azizi said.

Some MPs welcomed the disclosure of the names of those accused of smuggling, but stressed that names of all ‘dealers’ must be revealed.

“Such revelation is good, but the minister has not disclosed names of all the dealers. He should have revealed all the names,” Member of Parliament Fatima Aziz said.

Afghan parliamentarians believe that such a move will decrease the level of deals and corruption within the parliament. (Tolo News)



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