Ex-minister among 17 referred to AGO on graft charges

KABUL (Pajhwok): At least 17 employees of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), including former acting minister Nargis Nehan, have been referred to the Attorney General Office (AGO) for investigations on graft charges. The former acting minister and 16 other employees of the ministry have been referred to AGO in connection with corruption in the Ghorian salt mine contract, which was canceled two and half years ago. MoMP had signed a five-year contract with a private company named “Namak Nasir Omaid” on January 2, 2018 for extracting sedimentary salt from the mine in the Ghorian district of western Herat province. The salt was to be obtained from running water. According to Nehan, who was acting minister at the time, 25,000 tonnes of salt was to be extracted annually from the mine, and the contracting firm would have to pay 1,065 afghanis in royalty per tonne --meaning an annual income of 65 million afghanis for the ministry. She had then claimed the company would pay the ministry an additional amount of 120,000 afghanis annually in land rent.

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