Probe Team Finds Fuel Worth Millions Being Smuggled Into Country | TOLOnews

Some MPs accuse government officials and mafia members of being involved in the illicit oil trade.

A probe team from Afghanistan’s parliament on Wednesday reported that over 30 fuel companies have smuggled millions of dollars worth of oil into the country under the pretext of delivering it to foreign forces, thereby avoiding import tax.

The probe team said that the tax evasion scheme by these companies took place between 2012 and 2016 and resulted in the loss of billions of AFs in revenue for government.

The investigation was started six months ago and is still ongoing. According to the task team nine fuel companies owe 229 billion AFs. They also said 17 companies have not responded to their questions while the explanations of another six companies did not satisfy the lawmakers.

“May Allah help the ministry of finance and the government to recuperate the money which belongs to the people of Afghanistan and transfer it to the national revenues,” said Abdul Qadirzazai Watandost, head of the probe team.

The lawmakers have referred the cases of these companies to the Attorney General for further investigation.

“We will put the report forward for voting, those who agree with the report, raise your green cards and those who oppose the law raise your red cards, the report is approved, we will send it to the attorney general,” said speaker of parliament Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi.

“The attorney general’s office itself needs to be overseen,” said MP Arif Rahmani

Meanwhile some MPs have said that a number of these companies allegedly resorted to the illegal action in cooperation with mafia elements inside government and they still continue their illegal process.

“This report is really shocking, in a country where the people are hungry, over $32 million USD has been embezzled,” said MP Ramazan Basahadordst.

“Government officials are involved in the issue, the mafia has also a share in it,” said MP Dawoud Kalkani.

“When the parliamentary report is sent to us, we will study all aspects of the report,” said Ajmal Abdul Rahimzai, the finance ministry’s spokesman.

Fifteen years ago, the Afghan government and the foreign forces stationed in the country signed an  agreement that foreign troops were not required to pay tax on their fuel coming in to Afghanistan.

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