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Anti-graft commission probes ‘catastrophic’ customs corruption

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2021)

Anti-corruption agencies have described reports by the acting minister of finance that as much as $8 million is being embezzled by customs on a daily basis as being “catastrophic”.

The Anti-Corruption Commission says it is investigating the acting minister’s claims.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the matter and will obtain further information from the Ministry of Finance,” said Mohammad Salim Safari, media officer at the commission.

This comes after acting finance minister Khalid Painda told MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Wednesday that between $7 million and $8 million was not being collected daily by customs across the country.

MPs in turn accused government leadership, especially the Ministry of Finance, of being the main culprits regarding corruption in customs, and said Painda needs to stop corruption instead of complaining about it.

On Wednesday, Painda told MPs in Parliament that there are reports of corruption involving governors, police commanders, employees of the Ministry of Finance as well as members of the public.

Asked about who is behind the multi-million dollar corruption scheme, Painda was not able to give satisfactory answers, members of the administrative board of the Wolesi Jirga said.

“Instead of giving statistics, the Ministry of Finance should fight corruption and reveal the list of corrupt people,” said Hujatullah Kheradmand, Deputy Secretary of the House of Representatives.

Members of the public, however, have a different view, saying that the head and leadership of the Ministry of Finance are primarily responsible for the corruption but instead they are blaming others.

President Ashraf Ghani has in the past accused the interior ministry of being at the heart of corruption in the country. But some members of the public say it appears that the ministry of finance has now taken that top spot.

In response to the scandal, the Ministry of Industry and Trade says that the smuggling of commercial goods into the country has reduced domestic production.

The Ministry says that joint efforts have been launched with the Ministry of Finance to address this challenge, and that tariffs on imported goods should be increased by 100 percent.

The private sector, on the other hand, says that domestic industrialists still do not have access to production resources.

Members of the private sector say that if the government supports the private sector, investments in the country will increase and jobs will be created.

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Ronaldo’s bottle removal gesture costs Coca-Cola $4 billion

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(Last Updated On: June 16, 2021)

Global soft drink giant Coca-Cola Company lost $4 billion value in Market after all-time soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the Euro 2020 on Monday, the Business Insider reported.

Ronaldo, the Portugal Football Team captain, moved the cola bottles aside as he sat down to speak to the media before Tuesday’s Group F opener against Hungary.

The 36-year-old followed it by holding a bottle of water before shouting in Portuguese: ‘Agua!’ – the Portuguese word for water.

According to the Insider, Coca-Cola’s shares were trading around $56.17 when the market opened on Monday, but fell 1.6% to $55.22 by the end of the press conference.

“That led to a sharp drop in market value from $242 billion to $238 billion. The soft-drink manufacturer’s shares closed at $55.41 per share on Tuesday,” the report said.

Coca-Cola, one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020, has not officially commented about the incident so far.

 

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MDHI secures $43.9m in contracts to support Afghan Air Force

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(Last Updated On: June 16, 2021)

American MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) has confirmed it has been awarded two separate contracts worth $43.9 million from Army Contracting Command-Redstone supporting the Afghan Air Force’s MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters.

In a statement issued by the company, MDHI stated the first contract, a six-month extension worth $14.5 million, continues MDHI’s longstanding efforts to provide program management, and contractor logistics support services, material, and remote operations to support the Afghan fleet.

Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona in the US; Kabul, Afghanistan; and Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. The contract was awarded on May 28, 2021, MDHI stated.

The second contract, worth $29.4 million, modifies MDHI’s original maintenance capabilities support contract.

Under this six-month contract, MD Helicopters will provide continued maintenance, repairs, updates, and overhauls of the Afghan Air Force’s MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters in Mesa, Kabul, and Al-Ain. The contract was awarded on June 10, 2021.

“While U.S. forces begin the drawdown process in Afghanistan, these contracts allow us to help Afghanistan’s Air Force maintain stability on their own through the continued support of their aircraft,” said Nick Nenadovic, MD Helicopters Vice President, Aftermarket and Customer Support.

“This further highlights the value our government and the Afghan Air Force put on the MD 530F. It is with tremendous pride we can continue providing the highest level of support for both our government and allies.”

The enhanced MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is a light armed attack helicopter respected for its power, safety, speed, agility, and unparalleled confined area capabilities.

The aircraft supports a wide range of training and operational missions, providing safe, efficient multi-mission support with an increased performance profile.

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Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to sign marble export agreement

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, have discussed Afghanistan exporting marble to Turkmenistan.

In a statement issued by the Afghan foreign ministry, MoFA said the Afghan delegation provided comprehensive information to their Turkmen counterparts on the various natural resources and rare stones available in Afghanistan.

The Afghan delegation said the export of the resources would be significant in strengthening and expanding trade between Kabul and Ashgabat.

Highlighting development taking place and the construction around building new cities in Turkmenistan, the Turkmen delegation discussed their requirement for marble and expressed Turkmenistan’s full readiness to procure marble from Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed to sign an agreement on Afghanistan’s marble export to Turkmenistan.

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