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Ex-director grabs land of women’s affairs dept in Ghor

Ex-director grabs land of women’s affairs dept in Ghor

Oct 26, 2020 - 14:41

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Masuma Anwari, former director of the Womeninfo-icon Affairs Department in western Ghorinfo-icon province, has grabbed 625 square metres of the department’s land and has built a house on it, documents show.

However, Anwari claims she had purchased the land from the municipality, which should be held accountable for selling the land of the women’s affairs department

On the other hand, Ferozkoh Mayor Mohammad Usman Esmat vehement denied selling government property to the former director. No official documents regarding the alleged transaction were available, he said.

A copy of the deed obtained by Pajhwok indicates that a 2,000 square metres plot was allotted to the department of women affairs by the municipality on August 24, 2004.  A building for the department was to be constructed on the plot.

Another document shows that Anwari had constructed a house for herself on a 625 metres part of the land. On September 16 this year, the Ministry of Women Affairs wrote the department a letter, ordering an investigation into the matter.

The letter reads: “According to documents, the department’s land measured 2,000 square metres, but the municipality record currently now shows a clear difference in the land’s measurement (area).”

“Current coordinates of the department’s in a legal document (334/162), dated September 20, 2004, are: A sub-road is located in the north, municipality land in the west, a stream of water in the south, Department of Justice in the east and the house of the former director (Anwari) in the west,” the letter says.

It adds: “According to legal documents available to us, the land owned by this department must be 2,000 square metres. Unfortunately, the land is 1,375 square metres. About 625 square metres of have been usurped.”

The crime branch wing of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) also asked the Ghor municipality to provide details and investigate the matter.

Subsequently, the crime branch wing informed the Ghor municipality on May 29, of 2016: “As you are aware, a residential building has been constructed west of the Department of Women’s Affairs. The former director lives there. Please provide information whether or not the building belongs to the government.”

The municipality was further asked to specify when the building, if owned by the government, was constructed and by whom.

In repose, the municipality wrote: “The building of the Women’s Affairs Department is state-owned. The land was allotted to the department by the municipality. The building has no problem in terms of urban planning.

“Its coordinates are: Justice Department to the east, government land (on which a house has been constructed by Anwari, daughter of Ghulam Sakhi) to the north and a sub-road and a water stream to the south.”

Mohammad Arif Qzizada, the mayor of Ferozkoh, confirmed the house of the former director was built … in violation the city’s urban plan on the state-owned land. No official documents are registered with the municipality in this regard.

“The Department of Women Affairs can pursue the issue through the judiciary. The issue has already been investigated by the municipality.”

Halima Parastesh, the sitting director of women’s affairs, said there was a difference in the land of the department in the relevant document. No personal house should be built next to the department -- a piece of state land.

She proposed a commission should be tasked with probing the grabbing of the land allocated to the Ghor Women’s Affairs Department.

She added: “The department has its own independent building and 2,000 square metres of land belongs to it based, on the deed. We still don’t know the exact measurement. As suggested, a delegation will determine the exact area of the land. The construction of a private house next to the department is questionable.”

But Anwari, in a telephone conversation, told Pajhwok she had purchased the land from the mayor of that time. She acknowledged building a house on the land.

The ex-director argued: “The municipality which sold the land should be held accountable. The mayor has to be held responsible if he/she allots land against the law.”

Asked if she did not know this land belonged to the department, she replied: “No, I didn’t know. If it is proved I was allotted the land illegally, I could be called to account. I will not violate the law and will return the land. But the municipality must pay my money and expenses.”

Asked to provide the deed (legal documents) of the land, she said: “Currently, I’m not in Ghor to show you the deed, I’m elsewhere. If anyone has any complaint against me, the mayor, governor and judiciary are there to ask me. I’m ready to respond.”

Without going into details, Anwari said she had rented out the building to the Ghor Martyrs and Disabled Affairs Department.

Based on the inquiry letter of the MoI crime branch, dated May 29, 2016, this land was allocated to Anwari by Mohammad Usman Esmat, former mayor of Ghor, in 2016.

But the municipality said: “The mentioned area, under the fourth urban plan, is a government property. It was allotted against the urban plan in 2010 by Mayor Esmat, son of Sakhi Dad, a resident of Ferozkoh, to Anwari, daughter of Ghulam Sakhi.

“According to the bank statement, the payment of the price of the plot is registered on page 88, number (3) of the 1389 Import Revenue Office,”

The letter in repose to the inquiry was signed by two individuals, whose names and designations are not mentioned.

But Esmat, the former mayor who is currently serving as director of public relations at Hajjinfo-icon and Religious Affairs Department, said the land had been distributed to the department before he was appointed as mayor.

Esmat had been mayor of Ferozkoh from 2006 to 2012 and the land was allocated to Anwari in 2010.

Questioned why he did not stop Anwari building her house during his tenure, he said: “In many places, this has been done. It may have happened on his watch as well.

“I was not aware of it. We did not know whether she was constructing the department building or her private house. We haven’t not given Anwari any documents for build her house. Ask her if she had done something against the law; it is her responsibility.”

Pajhwok also shared the issue with Arif Aaber, the governor’s spokesman. But he flatly refused to answer any question regarding the encroachment on the department’s land.

This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.



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