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Millions of dollars embezzled in Afghan customs: Watchdog

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan says that corrupt employees in Afghan customs, local tyrants, and government figures have embezzled millions of dollars of customs revenues.

Based on the findings of local authorities, ten cargoes are being pulled out of the customs office without paying the customs duty with the same plate number, and about 100 cargoes are not paying their customs duties daily.

Ghulam Hashim, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, said: “Ten trucks are being cleared through customs with one plate number. Extra tonnage vehicles up to 100 trucks a day, extra tonnage fuel tankers were being cleared through customs.”

The head of Islam Qala Customs also confirms the widespread corruption in this customs.

“The threats from the powerful and the mafia are so much that 100 percent of the legal work cannot be done there, the high-level work of the employees is carried out by force, and even some employees, including the human resources manager, have been beaten,” said Mustafa Hakimi, Herat’s customs chief. “

Herat’s governor says only 30,000 afghanis are paid out of the three million AFN from the costums duties of a cargo.

Ahmad Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat, said: “Seven vehicles have been loaded, seven of which have illegal loads, overloads, warnings and reload.”

Findings of Integrity Watch of Afghanistan from the Customs Office show that millions of dollars’ worth of customs revenue has been lost.

“Millions of dollars of Afghanistan’s customs revenue is wasted every year because there are people infected with corruption in the customs and the intervention of local powerful people and people within the government,” said Naser Timouri, a researcher at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Finance, however, confirmed the existence of corruption in the customs.

“The issue of corruption is not in doubt that it exists, but the figures presented are waiting for the governor to share his findings with us so that we can find out on what basis the governor obtained these figures,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. It’s found. “

Observers at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan say that non-transparent and non-competitive customs clearance has corrupted the structure.

Farid Ahmad, a spokesman for the Independent Administrative Reform Commission, said: “So far, all recruitment at customs has been done by the Ministry of Finance and the Independent Administrative Reform Commission has played no role. But by presidential decree, customs posts are set to compete freely.” “

Although the Ministry of Finance says that scanners have been set up in customs offices for corruption, sources say that in some customs offices, the scanners are kept inactive due to product exemptions.

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MTN to quit Afghanistan, along with other Middle Eastern countries

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2020)

MTN Group will exit its operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan to become an Africa-only-focused telecommunications operator.

The group said in a statement on Thursday that “MTN has resolved to simplify its portfolio and focus on its pan-African strategy and will, therefore, be exiting its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly manner over the medium term.” 

The group is already in “advanced discussions” to sell its 75 percent stake in its Syrian subsidiary, CEO Rob Shuter said in a call with journalists. It is negotiating with TeleInvest, the 25% owner of the Syrian business, about the sale.

Shuter said the initial focus will be on exiting its operations in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. However, it also plans to divest of its 49 percent of its stake in MTN Irancell in time.

News of the Middle East and Afghanistan exit comes after a lawsuit was filed in the US in April this year that claimed MTN and several other Western businesses aided terrorist organizations in activities carried out against the United States in the region.

Filed on behalf of American service members, civilians, and their families, who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan, the complaint alleged that MTN paid over $100 million to al-Qaeda and the Taliban so its towers would not be destroyed.

The lawsuit also claimed that MTN would switch off these towers at night, and in doing so, hampered US intelligence operations.

Mybroadband.co.za reported that MTN previously filed a motion to dismiss the original lawsuit, because it said the court lacks jurisdiction over MTN, which does not operate in the United States, and because the complaint does not allege any conduct by MTN that would have violated the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Following an amendment of the complaint by the plaintiffs in June this year, the operator now anticipates filing another motion to dismiss on largely the same grounds.

“MTN remains of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories and will defend its position where necessary,” the operator said.

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Air Arabia Abu Dhabi launches new service to Kabul and Dhaka

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has announced the introduction of two new destinations — Kabul in Afghanistan and Dhaka in Bangladesh – with direct flights from Abu Dhabi commencing on August 7.

Initially there will be three flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Kabul, on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

 

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi was formed following an agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia to establish Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier that follows the business model of Air Arabia and complements the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi thereby catering to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi started its operations in July 2020 with flights to Alexandria and Sohag in Egypt from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

 

 

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Gov’t collects more than 2.2 billion AFN from 10% telecom tax in past seven months

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(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

The government has logged more than 2.2 billion AFN in tax collection via the 10 percent telecom tax on mobile phone subscribers since the beginning of the current fiscal year. 

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) said Saturday that through the Real-Time Data Management System – a system used for monitoring the collection of the 10 percent taxes from telecom services – it managed to collect the revenue.

“We managed to collect more than 2.2 billion AFN since the beginning of 2020 and handed it over to the government treasury,” said Abdul Samad Hamid Poya, a spokesman for the MCIT.

Experts, however, claimed the Ministry has yet to ensure transparency in the collection process of the 10 percent revenue tax from mobile phone users.

According to them, the ministry failed to provide details about the exact number of active SIM Cards. But Samad Hamid Poya blamed some telecom companies for not providing them information on the issue.

“We acknowledge that the Ministry of Communications has done some of its work, but if the 10 percent tax would be collected transparently the ministry could generate more revenue than what they have shared,” Salim Tufan an economist told Ariana News.

Last year the MCIT installed “Real-Time Data Management” for the collection of tax across the country. The system was aimed at collecting genuine information through connecting with the telecommunication network system to ensure and gain public confidence in the transparency of the collection process of 10 percent telecom tax and other telecommunication revenues.

Since then, the system remained one of the most controversial issues in the Ministry. Critics believe that the system cannot ensure transparency in the mobile tax collection.

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