Tax on municipality stalls plundered for years

18
Afghan Desk
Mazar-i-Sharif

Annual revenue of more than 19 million afghanis from 728 municipality stalls in Mazar-i-Sharif landed in private pockets instead of state coffers, Afghan media has reliably reported.

The stalls are owned by the Mazar-i-Sharif Municipality, but according to the media findings, from 2015 to early 2021, revenue from these kiosks lined the pockets of some individuals.

An investigative report on the issue disclosed that each stall was rented out for about 2,200 afs a month. The annual revenue from the stalls accounted for 19,219,200 afs.

Despite that fact that the stalls are the property of the municipality, powerful individuals occupied and rented them out for 5,000 afs to 500,000 afs.

In addition, the stalls were handed by one powerful individual to another and the revenue collected from them went to private pockets.

The stalls at key points in the northern city sold herbals, children’s garments and other items.

Mayor Maulvi Qudratullah Tariq, in an inclusive chat with Pajhwok Afghan News, acknowledged massive corruption and stealing of municipality revenue. But the misuse of revenue had been stopped, he explained.

While looking at municipality documents, he said they came to know that revenue collected from 728 stalls landed in private pockets instead of the state treasury.

Each booth was rented out for 2,200 afs, the mayor said, adding different people occupied the kiosks and became shareholders.

Tariq alleged: “Most of the municipality revenue was embezzled during the previous government. The revenue from 728 stalls went to private pockets.

Each stall was charged 2,200 afs. Some of the kiosks were purchased by powerful individuals and the municipality was thus deprived of a handsome income.”

But after the Islamic Emirate’s takeover, he claimed, corruption had been eliminated. A fair tax would be collected from the individuals running the stalls, considering their economic condition, he promised.

The tax would go to the municipality, not to strongmen, the official assured. A strategy, he said, was being worked out.

Tariq asserted after a halt to corruption, there had been a drastic surge in the revenue of the municipality. Nobody would be allowed to commit corruption, he maintained.

The mayor also made clear that nobody would be allowed to embezzle municipality funds or sell its stalls on their own.

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