AGO slaps travel ban on eight MoI officials over graft case

KABUL (TOLO News): The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) imposed travel ban on eight officials of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoI) until the end of an investigation into embezzlement of AFs600 million ($7.5 million) from meat contract of the Afghan National Police.

The decisions comes a day after police arrested a food contractor for the Ministry of Interior on charges of “stealing AFs600 million ($7.5 million)” from meat supply in one year by over-billing the security agency.

Sources told TOLOnews that police had arrested at least 22 individuals, among them higher and lower rank officials of the ministry, who collaborated in the purchase of meat with Hajji Mohammad Rasa, the contractor, last year.

Haris Siraj, the acting head of the Interior Ministry’s logistics department; Nasir Zaid, head of the finance department; Mirwais Janbaz, acting head of logistics department are among the eight officials, according to sources.

“Based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, travel ban has been imposed on eight officials of the ministry. The attorney general of Afghanistan assures that whenever the case is referred to the attorney, all issues will be pursued firmly and resolutely,” said AGO spokesman Jamshid Rasuli.

Based on leaked documents, the company was supplying 5,000 kilograms of meat to the national police in a province, but they were receiving 10,000 kilograms of meat in bills by police commanders. In some cases, when police commanders were not prepared to do so, the company was using a fake stamp to do its job.

The documents show that the majority of the amount was embezzled in Kabul, Parwan, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Punjsher, Baghlan, Nuristan and Laghman provinces.

The total amount of contract between the Interior Ministry and the contractor company is estimated AFs1.2 billion (around $15 million).

According to the sources, the owner of the company and its staff members had forged the stamp of the Ministry of Interior and were collaborating with police commanders in provinces to conduct the “embezzlement”.

The company’s name is Shuja Abdara and Hamid.

Anti-corruption organizations stressed the need for systematic efforts against corruption within the Ministry of Interior.

“In our perspective, the decision was made very late. The problem in the ministry of interior is not limited to one or ten cases of corruption, but it involves hundreds and thousands of cases which includes officials of the ministry of interior and others from outside the security agency,” said Nasir Timori, a researcher at Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry’s spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said a thorough probe is underway into the case. “Everyone involved in the corruption will be treated based on the law,” he added.

TOLOnews reporter tried to seek a comment from the family members of Rasa, but his family members refused to comment on the issue.