PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Twenty-six leaseholders of the Pul-i-Khumri Municipality’s properties have not deposited 88.8 million afghani in lease money to the government in the past 18 years, Pajhwok Afghan News reliably learned.
Former central government signed lease contracts with these individuals, the provincial government did not bother to collect the lease amount while central government committed negligence in this regard.
According to documents, Pul-i-Khumri Municipality awarded lease contracts of its livestock related property to 26 individuals but with the passage of time leaseholders did not pay lease amount to the government.
According to official lease letters, the government leased out the livestock food market to Mohammad Arif against 10.7 million afs on annual basis.
The documents show that Mohammad Arif owes 46.1 million to the government in lease contract of the food market.
Another document shows in 2005 the Afghan government leased out the Pul-i-Khumri livestock market to Abdul Ghani son of Shah Mahmood against 1.5 million afghani annually.
Ghani owes 3.7 million afghanis to the government in the lease contract based on letters No. 5277 and 5278.
Sufi Karim is another contractor and government leased out the livestock food market to him from 2007 to 2008 against 13.2 million afs but he did not pay the money to the government.
A table includes the names of 26 contractors of properties who did not pay the lease amount to the government from 2002 to 2020.
Former Pul-i-Khumri Mayor Eng. NizamuddinHameedi told Pajhwok Afghan News the provincial government did not cooperate with the municipality in collecting the lease amount from contractors.
He said over 100 letters had been sent to the Governor Office asking them for support in collecting the lease amount from leaseholders but they offered no support.
“Finally I had no option but to organize a press conference in the Governor House against the governor,” said Hameedi.
He added after press conference more discussions on the issue were held in the Governor House but no practical steps were taken to collect the lease amount.
Another source from Pul-i-Khumri Municipality said 26 leaseholders owed the government since Hamid Karzai regime.
“Once a leaseholder Mohammad Arif told me that he owes to municipality but the Ghori Cement Factory owes to him. Until i don’t get my money I will not pay municipality lease amount,” the source quoted Arif as saying.
He said most of 26 leaseholders had fled the country and some were hiding due government debt.
Current Pul-i-Khumri Mayor Haji Haqmal said tens of millions afghanis payable by leaseholders was public money and it was responsibility of government officials to ensure its return.
“Transparent people had no place in the previous government but this regime is committed to eradicating corruption and to ensure the lease amount is paid and individuals who denied payment their properties will be taken from them.”
He said the 26-member leaseholders list was prepared by the previous government and some government officials were also on the list.
“Powerful individuals and war-lords are also in the list, they collected money from people by force but denied the state rights.”
Baghlan Information Department Director Mawlavi Mustafa Hashami said all debaters will be asked to return their debt.
“The list of 26 leaseholders is a reality. We trying to find these people and take their money from them,” he said.
One of the reasons behind deteriorated economic situation was corruption which was deeply rooted in the previous regime. Every employee and every powerful individual had committed corruption and snatched state property and treasury, Hashmi said.
Hashami pledged public money will be returned to the state treasury at any cost.
It is worth mentioning that besides Baghalan, tens of leaseholders and contractors in Kabul and other provinces owe millions of afghanis to the government and they did not return the lease amount over the years.