Peace Ministry serves guests with doubled price meal
KABUL (Pajhwok): The State Ministry for Peace Affairs purchased food for a single guest for 2,500 afghanis while the same package at the same restaurant is served for 1,473afs, Pajhwok Afghan News learned reliably.
An official letter, a copy of which is available with Pajhwok Afghan News, shows Shamsuddin Usmani, head of the President Special Representatives and State Minister for Peace Affairs, wrote to the Deputy Assistant Office of Support and Administrative Affairs of the ministry: “With due respect, the office of Peace Ministry needs following food for its guests and security personnel of the minister office.
First grade lunch for the guest of the minister office, normal lunch for security personnel of the minister office. We hope the order for purchase of food is issued to the authorities concerned.”
At the end of the letter, with Usmani signature, Eng. Yahya Abbasi, Deputy head of the logistics and administration affairs department, issued directives to the procurement office of the ministry on May 31, 2020 to purchase the food items.
A copy of food price list from Barg Continental Restaurant dated May 31, 2020 shows the price of first grad lunch for one person costs 2,500 afs, purchased for 25 people, two normal lunches for 50 people, the price of one normal lunch is 320 afs. The price of normal and first grade lunches for 75 people cost 78,500.
At the end of the letter it is written that this bill has been approved with a stump of the restaurant and signature of restaurant admin. It also writes services discharged.
A price comparison table and technical list of the Peace Ministry shows Barg Continental offered the food at 78,500 afs, Sheraz Fast Food at 85,000, and Cafeteria restaurant at 90,000 afs. On the basis of different price quotations’ Barg Continental won the offer.
This comes as Barg Continental also provided a price list to Pajhwok Afghan News saying the price of same food cost in boufa 850 afs while outside hotel it costs 1,473.
But officials of Burg Restaurant said the price of normal food could be reduced up to 100afs with the reduction of some vegetables or tikka kapab.
Keeping in mind the above prices, one food package of grade first for a single person was purchased 1,027 afs higher than the price provided by Berg Continental to Pajhwok Afghan News.
But a price list from Qasr-e-Sulaimani Restaurant dated March 24, 2020, handed over to Peace Ministry and a copy of which is received by Pajhwok Afghan News, shows buffa offer for one person cost 1,280 afs and normal food for a single person is sold for 268 afs. The restaurant also offered to afford 20 percent charges of food delivery.
According to a purchase list No. 76 dated March 17, 2020 from the procurement office of State Ministry for Peace, the first grade food — a single food includes 13 types of food and drink — costs 1,600 afs with total demand for 30 persons, third grade food for 60 people costs equal to food for single person at 336 afs from the Qasr-e-Sulaimani.
Habibullah Ghausi, director of the Sulaimani hotel, acknowledged offering the above food at the mentioned price to the Ministry of Peace.
NajiaAnwari, spokesperson for the Ministry of Peace, regarding the purchase of a single meal for 2,500 from Barg Continental, said only price quotation had been sought from the restaurant and the food was not purchased.
“Those days food was provided from the Peace Ministry kitchen and no food was purchased from outside,” she said.
Abdul Hai Nuristani, director of Barg Continental, said they shared a price list with the Peace Ministry on that date, but no meal was provided as the hotel was closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
Referring to the bill issued from the restaurant, he said: “Barg Hotel is a brand. You need operational license to run a branch. I do not know who issued this bill, because in Shahr-e-Naw we have a representative office and we have not issued such a bill. The bills issued by the hotel are different.”
A well-placed source within the ministry said, following Pajhwok’s request for an answer, the ministry officials collected and destroyed documents related to high-priced food in order to prevent corruption.
The source added that the ministry officials strived to identify individuals who leaked information to Pajhwok and dismissed them.
Article 62 of Access to Information Law says: “A person who has disclosed information in good faith will have legal, administrative and job security and will be protected and supported.”
According to a source within the Ministry of Peace, a number of people visit the ministry and a colossal amount of money was being spent from the state treasury.
In Kabul, restaurant food costs one person 150 afs, but for guests of a ministry, it costs 17 times higher than the normal price.
Earlier, Wolesi Jirga rejected allocation of 380 million for the Ministry of Peace because the ministry did not provide information about its earlier expenditures.
Mir Afghan Safi, head of the Wolesi Jirga’s Finance Commission said the ministry had failed to provide information regarding 800 million provided to them in the beginning of financial year thus their demand for another 380 million was rejected.