Huge contracts awarded to kin of Karzai, aides: ANF


KABUL (PAN): The Afghanistan National Front (ANF) on Wednesday said though the participation of high government officials’ kin in the bidding process was unlawful, yet most mining contracts were awarded to relatives of President Hamid Karzai and his aides.

ANF spokesman Faizullah Zaki told a press conference in Kabul that under Afghanistan’s mines and hydrocarbon laws, relatives of high government officials could not take part in the bidding process for government contracts.

“But in practice, contracts ranging from the Pul-i-Khumri cement factory establishment to grabbing government lands and gas and oil exploration in the north have been given to family members of Karzai and his two vice-presidents,” he alleged.

Zaki claimed such illegal actions by the government had resulted in the creation of a mafia-controlled economy and a protectionist policy, raising disturbing questions about the country’s economic system.

He said his party wanted Parliament to intervene and prevent senior government officials from violating the country’s constitution.

When contacted, mines ministry spokesman Mohammad Jawad Omar said he would not comment on Zaki’s allegations, but his claims about oil and gas contract were baseless.

He said the contract for oil and gas exploration at the Amu River’s basin had been awarded in line with international standards of transparency. Omar insisted no political influence was involved in awarding the contract.

Zaki said since Afghanistan’s economy remained heavily reliant on international assistance, there was a a need for corruption-free government departments.


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