KABUL (Pajhwok): Some political experts say continued foreign trips by Acting Finance Minister Humayon Qayyumi and their cost are against the law.
The finance minister is famous for often being abroad than home at a time when he is leading a crucial ministry.
The Ministry of Finance, however, said the finance minister’s stay out of the county was not against the law but in accordance with a presidential decree.
Qayyumi, also advisor to the president, wrote to the president: “Considering gradual expansion of economic relations between Afghanistan and its friends and establishment of bilateral economic committees and other important business meetings, it is essential that, in view of the importance and continuity of these relations, I personal travel to foreign countries from time to time. Thereby, the presence of a high official (in the ministry) is greatly needed. Therefore, a permanent permission for foreign trips and allocation of fund for return tickets and oversees stay is requested.”
University Teacher Nasrullah Stanikzai said law has been violated in this presidential decree.
He said presidential authority was limited and orders that crossed the limits of law were illegal.
He said: “According to the law, formal trips belong to the president while unlimited order for such trips violates the law in one way or the other.”
Gul Rahman Qazi, former head of an Oversight Commission on the Constitution, also termed the president’s order to grant permanent permission to finance minister for foreign trips as against the constitution.
He said in line with article 66 of the constitution the president is unable to take decision over high and sensitive issues of the county. He said the case of Qayyumi is also a sensitive matter of national interest.
Article 66 if the constitution says: “The President shall take into consideration the supreme interests of the people of Afghanistan to enforce the authorities enshrined in this Constitution. The President shall not sell or bestow state properties without the provision of the law. During the term of office, the Presidential position shall not be used for linguistic, sectarian, tribal, and religious as well as party considerations.”
But Finance Ministry Spokesperson Shamroz Khan Masjadi said the presidential order regarding Qayyumi’s foreign trips was not legal or technically wrong.
The order allows finance minister’s trips to foreign countries anytime without consultation with the president and all this has been done to facilitate his trips and make the procedure simple and easy, he added.
Absence in the ministry
It is famous regarding Qayyumi that he stays most of the time out of the country.
Pajhwok Afghan News asked the ministry to provide information about Qayyumi’s trips in the past three months but despite multiple contacts, the information was not provided.
Last year in July, he was appointed as acting finance minister by the president when he was already serving as presidential advisor in infrastructure development. He is currently heading two tasks.
Masjadi, however, said that all trips of finance minister were conducted in line with the law and consultation with the president.
Presidential Spokesperson Sediq Sediqi said the presidential decree regarding Qayyumi’s trips was not an exceptional case but such decrees had issued in the past as well.
He said the finance minister held many responsibilities and could not take permission for every single trip.