KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) in a report has listed ‘a defiant anti-corruption campaign’, political interferences, foreign meddling as main reasons behind corruption vulnerabilities at the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum (MoMP).
The MEC report says illegal mining, inadequate salaries, weak mining audit, revenue collection, illegal interference of local officials in revenue collection and their involvement in illegal mining are other problems of the ministry.
Making the report, the MEC interviewed 266 experts and evaluated 66 contracts from October 2017 till July 2018 in Kabul, Parwan, Panjshir, Balkh, Nangarhar, Badakhshah, Samangan, Herat and Kandahar provinces.
MEC head Bari Salam, while unveiling the results of the research, said the MoMP had also made some achievements like hiring of employees through the Independent Civil Services and Administrative Reform Commission (ICSARC), signing some Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with concerned government institutions for greater cooperation.
However, he said the mining ministry still faced many issues such as lack of understanding between the authorities concerned, lack of capacity within the ministry and its provincial branches.
Vulnerabilities and danger of corruption
Bari Salam said weaknesses in the anti-corruption system, poor governance, unsatisfaroy connectivity of the ministry with provinces, political influence in decision making and some other areas were vulnerable to corruption in the ministry.
He said the MEC during its report refrained from naming corrupt individuals and only focused on reasons behind the corruption and its vulnerabilities.
Lapses within the contract process and illegal mining
The MEC report says many lapses take place in the process of warding mining contracts and these lapses cause corruption.
Bari Salaam said many procedures of contracts remained unexplained and the required scrutiny did not take place. Before awarding contracts, all necessary documents of the company concerned should be scrutinized carefully, he said.
He said the MEC findings showed the process of contract provision was lengthy and weak and this problem allowed external interferences in the process.
He said event today most of the illegal mining involved powerful individuals, members of Parliament, illegal armed groups and the Taliban on a large scale.
Weak internal audit
The MEC report said internal audit did not happen on a high standard and auditors were badly affected by personal benefits, gifts and other presents offered to them by the institutions being audited.
Salaam said the mining ministry’s audit had been weak and not up to standard and the auditors were bribe-fed. He said the ministry has nine auditors and of them two would be retiring.
The MEC report says local officials and different government institutions without any legal authority were involved in revenue collection of the mining ministry or involved in illegal mining.
“No report about available deposits, their exact rates and average production is available and there is no monitoring of the production, this is why the revenue could not be properly collected,” he said.
Low salaries and meddling in hiring process
The MEC report say low salaries of employees force them to misuse their authorities in personal interest.