News - Afghanistan
Lawmakers in Parliament on Friday panned officials at the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) for allowing corruption to siphon away much needed funds from its budget, including money that was meant to support programs for disabled Afghans and pensions for retired public servants.
Alongside providing care and financial support for thousands of disabled people, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) is also responsible for paying the pensions of nearly 200,000 retired government servants. Nevertheless, millions of Afghanis have allegedly been embezzled from the ministry's budget, in yet another example of large-scale graft at high levels of the Afghan government.
"The existence of corruption in the ministry of labor is quite a distressing issue, and the embezzlement of salaries and allowances for disabled people have led to major problems," MP Ramazan Juma Zada said. "The first step the ministry should take is an initiative to curb corruption," he added.
The comments from lawmakers come in response to a recent report published by the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption, which first exposed the large-scale corruption going on within the MoLSAMD.
A spokesman for the ministry, Ali Eftekhari, acknowledged the existence of corruption in MoLSAMD on Friday. However, he emphasized that a new strategy for getting payments directly to retired public servants and disabled individuals would be put in place to bypass the hands of corrupt officials.
"In consideration of the problems, we are trying to digitalize the salary payment process by issuing bank cards to retired government servants and disabled people, so they can receive their salaries," Eftekhari said.