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Resign if unable to curb graft, Balkh officials told

Resign if unable to curb graft, Balkh officials told

Nov 14, 2017 - 17:55

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Some government officials in northern Balkh province have acknowledged their inability to stop what they say “growing corruption.”

Some officials even burst into to tears while acknowledging their helplessness to prevent corruption from happening and others accused the provincial government of not supporting the anti-corruption drive.

Provincial Council (PC) members and civil society activists suggested authorities should step down if they could not eradicate corruption.

But the provincial government claims it has been committed to eliminating corruption and asks officials to expose those creating hurdles in the anti-corruption campaign.

Few days back, Balkh police chief Brig. Gen. Syed Kamal Sadaat, while addressing a gathering on anti-corruption campaign, disclosed his inability to stop corruption and complained against interference of higher powerful individuals in eradication of corruption.

“Powerful individuals come and release criminals. We can just see and do nothing,” Sadaat told the gathering which was jointly organised by the Anti-Corruption Department and religious scholars.

“People become subject to disgrace and insult and they could not raise their voice against the tyranny and persecution” he had said.

Sadaat did not name anyone and said: “This is not my ancestral post, but some may consider their posts ancestral. Some individuals have been here from the past 15 years and nobody could tell them anything.”

The police chief broke into tears and asked the ulema to rescue the masses from the incumbent situation and never rely on slogans.

Rashid Halimi, the Anti-Corruption Department head, also acknowledged they were unable to stop corruption

He blamed the existing hurdles in the way of the anti-corruption drive on the central government and said some Balkh authorities had been refusing to register their assets.

Halimi said despite repeated calls from their side, 26 Balkh officials had not yet registered their assets. He said 50 incidents of corruption were registered in Balkh in the past three months.

“When we inform the centre, we receive the replay late. The seriousness of the central authorities is necessary for eradication of corruption and countering powerful individuals,” he added.

Halimi said they started registration of government officials’ assets one and half a years ago in the northern zone. So far 400 assets registration forms have been distributed but the officials did not cooperate.

He said those refusing to fill the forms were officials who considered themselves above the law.

The High Office of Anti-Corruption head said officials feared questions about their properties if they registered their assets. “It is the responsibility of a government official to register his/her assets.”

A number of provincial council members say government officials cannot escape their responsibilities only by expressing their inability to combat corruption.

Mohammad Ibrahim Khairandish, a provincial council member, said corruption existed in government departments of all provinces. “This phenomenon must be eradicated.”

“It has one solution that corrupt individuals should be removed from their jobs,” he said. However, he criticized those officials who showed weakness in fighting corruption.

“If these officials reveal the names of the government figures who are creating problems for their work or attempt escape the law, it would have positive impact on the society”, he said.

Zabihullah Kakar, another provincial council member, said officials who had already expressed their inability should resign and let qualified people take the job.

“I am a representative, I will resign if I cannot discharge my responsibilities,” he said.

Civil society activists also said officials who failed to discharge their responsibilities should resign.

Sayed Sajjad Musavi, a civil society activist in Balkh, said anti-corruption officials should expose corrupt government figures instead of crying.

However, Balkh officials said they were committed to combating corruption. Deputy governor Bashir Ahmad Tawhidi said they supported all those officials who implemented the law.

“Words alone cannot bring changes, action is mandatory”, he said. About inability of some officials in fighting corruption, Tawhidi said those who created problems for law enforcement or involved in graft should be exposed.

“The officials can complain to the media if their law enforcement efforts failed”, he said.