KABUL (MoPH) officials were illegally appointed, replaced or dismissed by the acting health minister.
Under the constitution, an acting minister has no authority to make appointments, order reshuffles of officials or fire government servants. .
A spokesman for MoPH, meanwhile, insisted an acting minister was authorised to reshuffle staff members on development projects as a result of an evaluation
But the presidential spokesman said an acting minister had no authority to hire or fire anyone before taking a vote of confidence from the Wolesi Jirga.
A member of Wolesi Jirga also claimed an acting minister could not appoint or dismiss individuals before winning a vote of confidence.
On June 2, President Ashraf Ghani appointed Ahmad Javed Usmani as acting minister of public health, who has not yet received a trust vote from the lower house.
In accordance with constitution, no one can work as acting minister for more than two months — a provision that has been flouted repeatedly.
A well-placed source in MoPH, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Usmani had violated the cabinet decision by appointing several supervisors, observers and reshuffling ministry staffers.
Documents showed Usmani appointed Dr. Karima Mayar as head of the directorate for development guidelines and protocols, Zalmay as lab director for Ahmad Shah Baba Mena and Dr. Ghulam Abbas as health chief for the Shulgar district of northern Balkh province.
Wasiullah, a 12th grader, was appointed as head of medical documents registration department at the Ataturk Children’s Hospital,
The acting minister also appointed Ali Sajjad, another 12th grade graduate, as administrative officer at the Institute of Health Sciences.
By the same token, Dr. Qudratullah was hired as director of capacity-building at the Kandahar Public Health Department,
Hamia was appointed as contractual midwife to the Baghlan Civil Hospital. Rawzia hired as nurse in the intensive care project and Dr. Ehsanullah Wahid as head of the environmental health department.
Regarding the nine appointments, Akmal Samsor said the acting minister, in accordance with the Civil Service Personnel Law, could hire people to vacant positions until regular appointments are made through open competition.
He added the nine individuals had been appointed as acting officers. “When a position falls vacant, a person should be appointed to provide services …If we don’t appoint the required staff, what will the people do?”
Another MoPH official, who did not want to be named, revealed the acting minister had appointed Dr. Badakhsh as manager of the project for reducing demand for drugs and Yama Faizi as technical supervisor in the head office.
Dr. Wahid was hired as technical supervisor in the head office, Maryam as doctor for the 100-bed women’s hospital, Mohammad Amin as driver, Shafiqullah as maintenance chief, Mujtaba Nabizada as maintenance worker, Nisar Ahmad as transport manager and Shahid Saqib as financial and administrative advisor.
But the minister’s spokesman said Dr. Badakhsh was been working on the drug demand reduction project. He did not know the remaining eight individuals.
The official disclosed Dr. Abdul Fahim, Dr. Sabir Pardes, Faramarz Hamidi, Rahim Saighani, Akmal Samsour, Noorullah Tarakai, Massouma Jafari, Omar Stanikzai, Shahid Saqib, Saboor Nariman, Jamil, Syed Mudabir, Dr. Parwiz Sultani, Dr. Salehi, Dr Khakira Rashid, Mohammad Shah, Samid, Hasib Burhani, Eng. Zarghona, Nargis Niazai, Dr. Hussain Musavi, Mirwise Sajad and Dr. Ahmad Shah Shuja have been appointed as advisors and experts to different departments of the ministry.
But Samsor said some of these individuals were employees of other departments working at MoPH.
He added, “Dr. Abdullah is a World Bank staff member, Dr. Sahib Firdaus, Faramarz Hamidi and Rahimullah Sighani work at WHO, I work at UNICEF, I mean, I signed the contract with them. Masouma Jafari also works with UNICEF, Omar Stanekzai is a health worker; so these employees are related to projects and our offices are also outside [of the ministry]; For example, Dr. Saber Pardis, who used to work with them, has come here.”
Samsor added that Jamil, Sayed Mudabir, Nargis Niazai, Dr. Hussian Musawi and Dr. Khakira Rashidi were former employees of the ministry, Dr. Salehi, an employee of the GIZ had come to the ministry for a study, Eng. Zarghona has been appointed as IT consultant and he did not know the rest seven.
A copy of a letter from the MoPH issued on September 12th of this year shows that Mohammad Ali Shariati, an observer of general human resources at the Ministry of Public Health, has been appointed in accordance with a presidential decree.
Regarding Shariati, Samsor said the post was vacant and Shariati had been appointed as an inspector until free competition.
Changes and transfors:
Copy of a letter copy No. 1869 issued on September 2nd of this year shows that Dr. Ahmad Jawad Usmani has appointed Dr. Khushol Tasal, MoPH interior chief inspector as Kunduz health department director, mutually replacing Dr. Ihsanullah Fazli but a source said that Khushal Tasal has been reappointed as MoPH interior chief inspector.
Also a MoPH letter issued on August 5 this year shows that Dr. Saida Qaimhas was appointed as head of the Intensive Care Project (ICU) in place of Heli Mustafa while the post was open to competition.
However, according to another letter issued on September 10, Dr. Arif Khan Wafadar replaces Saida Qaim as acting ICU head.
Akmal Samsor, MoPH spokesman, said the above changes were made due to problems at the ICU.
He added first the post was announced for competition because the IUC staffs in provinces were unhappy with Heli Mustafa’s behavior but no one had been able to gain enough marks to pass the exam.
He added that the acting minister appointed Dr. Saida Qaim as head of the ICU after she secured highest marks (58) in the open competition, but she did not accept the result, saying she would not work in acting capacity and would take part party the next open competition.
Samsor said the acting minister appointed Dr. Wafa as acting director for the ICU because of the above reasons until the competition process was completed.
However, a letter from the Deputy Recruitment Department of the Administrative Affairs Office to the Ministry of Public Health indicates that Heli Mustafa has complained about this action of the MoPH.
She had said she wanted her appointment through the free competition and positive evaluation but civil servants were changed illegally.
The Administrative Affairs Office has written to the Ministry of Public Health to act legally in this regard.
Based on a letter dated September 28th of this year, the Ministry of Public Health then appointed Heli as Senior Advisor to the General Directorate of Therapeutic Medicine, maintaining the previous privileges of the intensive care project and her job starting from the September 1st of this year.
A source at the MoPH, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok that Sayed Ahmad Zaki, general administrative director with five years of experience in the relevant work and Khawja Farkhruddin Sediqi, general financial head with more than 20 years of experience, had been transferred.
About the two persons, Samsor said: “When the issue was investigated, there were gaps that needed to be filled because this part was belonging to the addicts projects and it needed to be reformed.”
Also copies of two documents dated July 15, 2020 show that public health directors for Farah Province Dr. Abdul Jabbar Shaeq and for Kandahar province Mohammad Ashraf Taoos Naderi have been transferred to the General Directorate of Medicine.
Mehtabuddin replaced Shaeq and Taoos replaced Musa Jan Sultani. Mehtabuddin had earlier worked as head the Sciences Institute for Farah and Sultani as deputy health department director of Kandahar province.
Referring to the transfer of Kandahar Health Department Director, the Public Health Department Director said he would respond after collecting necessary information in this regard, but according to the spokesperson, Taoos was transferred because he has a case against him in the Attorney General Office.
Dismissal of senior officials
A source in the MoPH said that the acting health minister has dismissed eight senior officials — Dr. Nazir Ahmad Hemmat, Mohammad Mustafa Haidari, Shabnam Qaderi, Mohammad Younis Hayat, Mohammad Umar, Babar Shah, Dr. Fazal Karim Saeedi, and Mohammad Sameer Hakimi despite having immense experience in their respective fields.
But four of the dismissed officials were brought back due to references, while the future of three remaining dismissed officials is unknown and Dr. Fazal Karim Saeedi has resigned.
The Public Health Ministry spokesperson said that no one had been dismissed, but Pajhwok found access to an official letter belonging to Haidari in which Haidari’s contract expires on Sept 2.
According to Cabinet resolution dated August 10 this year: “Ministries and government departments are bound to ensure compliance with clauses 2-4 of the cabinet decision No. 14 dated July, 7, 2020 regarding the implementation of civil servant laws to refrain from appointment of acting officials out of their authority and appointment of employees on observation basis. In addition ministers and heads of government institutions don’t have the authority to dismiss secretaries without any genuine reason.”
A presidential decree No.1321 dated August 13, 2020 regarding the effective implementation of presidential orders and cabinet resolutions, including the one passed on August 10, 20202 said that all government institutions are bound to carry out appointments and dismissals in line with legislative documents and in coordination with Civil Services Commission.
This clause maintains that recruitment and appointment of civil servants, contrary to the explicit legislative documents in place, is invalid by law and violating state institutions would be dealt with accordingly.
But Samsour said the cabinet resolutions and orders were regarding individuals who were appointed with the ministerial human resource structure and the ministry has the authority to transfer these individuals to different projects based on positions after evaluating their skills and performance.
He added that the ministry according to the law could appoint people on vacant seats as acting officials or observers to look after the affairs.
But Abdul Shakoor Waqif Hakimi, a Wolesi Jirga member, termed dismissal and appointment of acting officials or observers against the law.
“According to the country’s constitution, acting Vice President has no authority to appoint or dismiss someone, than how can an acting minister or his deputy, acting head or his deputy has the authority to appoint or dismiss anyone,” he questioned.
Presidential Spokesperson Sediq Sediq said according to cabinet resolution, ministers-designate has no authority to appoint an official until the minister gets the trust vote from the parliament.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.