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Corruption rampant in customs: Watchdog

AT-KABUL: The Integrity Watch Afghanistan said it had no doubt on the corruption in the custom departments, asking the government to cut off the corrupt hands from custom offices especially in the Hairatan port in the north.

Hairatan is still controlled by the former Balkh governor Atta Noor, who defies President Ghani over his dismissal. In reaction to the government’s statement that his signature was no more valid, Atta warned that he would use the Hairatan incomes for provincial needs.

The body says government’s less attention to the custom incomes encourages powerful persons to illegally collect the incomes.

Sayed Ekram Afzali, head of the integrity watch Afghanistan accused “some government officials” of having hands in corruption in the custom offices.

The Economist magazine said in a recent report that former governor for Balkh collects 90 million dollars annually from Hairatan port, but has not included evidences.

Atta has rejected the report saying that the total income in Hairatan port is some 80 million dollars. He has also said that he did his best to bring transparency to the custom of Hairatan custom office.

 Ramazan Bashardost, a critic lawmaker blamed the government for being unable in preventing “thefts” in the custom departments. “The income of the custom office is not totally poured to government’s treasury. Powerful people and former officials misuse the money.”

Bashardost said that the custom offices are in the hands of people who pay no respect to the law. “Economist is a popular magazine and I hope it deliver documents to inform us for how long Atta is misusing the money,” he said, adding that the government would receive two billion dollars per year from the custom incomes if there is no corruption.

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