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Zherai reconstruction funds embezzled: Sarhadi.

KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Reconstruction funds meant for the war-hit Zherai district of southern Kandahar province have been embezzled, an official alleged on Friday.

Located on the Kandahar-Herat highway, east of the provincial capital, the district was seized from the militants as a result of joint security operation two years ago.

Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi, the district's administrative head, said: "Two years back, the government controlled only five percent area of Zherai, but now the situation has considerably improved due cooperation from residents and tribal elders."

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Sarhadi said the town was governed by the district and police chiefs alone until 2010. However, representatives of several departments are currently working there.

"Newly-recruited district officials were paid a risk allowance in addition to monthly salaries. But the allowance payment was stopped in September 2011. Subsequently, many government employees have resigned their jobs," he added.

The absence of an office complex in the district is a serious problem, according to the official, who recalled that a team of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance was allotted a 10-acre plot last year for the construction of offices.

However, he regretted, practical work on the much-needed project was yet to be initiated.

In order to help resolve residents' problems, the individuals living within the district -- not in Kandahar City -- had been appointed as members of village councils, Sarhadi said.

About reconstruction projects in Zherai, Sarhadi said the district had heavily suffered over the past 34 years. Funds released for rebuilding the town had ended up in the pockets of a few individuals, he claimed.

A lot of money had been spent on the construction of two schools and a health centre in Kandiali and Pashmol areas, but the quality of the projects was far from satisfactory, the district chief complained.

Funds allocated for 3,000 for rebuilding water channels in Pashmol have been misappropriated. Sarhadi accused a former US Army captain, an Afghan army commander and some residents of pocketing the money.

He said $250,000 had been spent on the construction of police check-posts, each post having three containers. Sarhadi said they had asked foreign troops to construct proper buildings for the posts.

District police chief, Lt. Col. Masoom Khan said about 10,000 security personnel, including foreign troops, manned the check-posts across Zherai.

Khan grumbled the forces lacked proper equipment to provide security for the district after the withdrawal of foreign troops. He asked for strengthening and equipping the local police force.

mm/mud

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Date:Jun 15, 2012
Words:432
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