News - Afghanistan
The Ministry of Urban Development is being forced to implement two water supply projects that go against regulatory standards, Minister Hassan Abdullahi told parliamentarians on Sunday – despite a warning from the Minister of Finance that he not tell the lawmakers, he claimed.
Abdullahi said his ministry has received a signed decree from President Hamid Karzai for the projects to go ahead, but there are inherent problems that others are seeking to cover up.
"You should know this problem of ours, even though the finance minister asked us not to share this with you. But it seems these projects are against the will of the people, and the decree is against the water supply regulations," he told the members of the parliamentary commission of finance.
He suggested that Minister of Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal asked him to hide the matter because deals have been made behind the scenes for the project to go ahead.
He did not provide further information on the location or costs of the two projects.
Abdullhai also slammed the executive board of a Kabul City project overseen by Karzai's Advisor Hedayat Amin Arsalan since 2007 for fraudulent activities.
He said the project was allocated $27 million by the Finance Ministry but only $8m was spent on the project.
"As you see, the only achievement the board had was fraud and faulty activities – you need to take control of this," Abdullahee told the commission.
The Minister also raised his concerns over the lack of construction codes in the ministry because it means the ministry is unable to control illegal construction of buildings in Kabul.
The lawmakers, for their part, urged the minister not to allow MPs to receive government housing assistance but rather to provide the free residences to those in severe need. Abdullhai responded that the MPs have been referred as the needy ones.