“17 types of meat” on menu of Administrative Office of the President and “$30 million for vegetables”, claims member of House of Representatives

Remarks made by Mr. Rezaei, a member of the House of Representatives, about the contract for 17 types of meat for the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) and the signing of a $30 million contract for the provision of “vegetables” to this office have made headlines. Rezaei has said that 17 types of meat including “quail and partridge” were purchased for AOP. According to Mr. Rezaei, the AOP spent “$30 million” only for vegetables. Rezaei said that the House of Representatives was not allowed to investigate such contracts, calling on the House of Representatives to review such procurement contracts, saying that justice should be done in signing contracts. The Administrative Office of the President has acknowledged that the National Procurement Authority awarded contracts for supplying vegetables to four departments in the 2020, worth 62,809,008 Afghanis.

The AOP further said that it had subsidiary units, including the Office of the Vice Presidents, the Office of Former President Hamid Karzai, the National Procurement Authority, the Strategic Communications Office, the Policy and Strategy Office, the National Development Operations and Support Office, the Investment Facilitation Unit and the Supreme National Reconciliation Council, led by Abdullah Abdullah. According to the officials of AOP, they are responsible for supplying all the needs of the mentioned departments. Also, food for the Office of the National Security Council, the General Directorate of the High Office of the President, and the Directorate for the Protection of Prominent Figures are provided by AOP, which employs more than 8,000 people.

Thus, in 2020, the National Procurement Authority awarded contracts worth 62,809,008 Afghanis for the preparation of vegetables for four presidential units. Among these, the supply of 43 vegetables for the General Directorate of the High Office of the President has been contracted for about 23,564,505 Afghanis.

According to this agreement, in 2020, the General Directorate of the High Office of the President consumed 18,125 kilograms of potatoes, 63,700 kilograms of onions, 4,800 kilograms of spring onion, 4,800 kilograms of radish, 6,000 kilograms of cucumber, 2,500 kilograms of coriander, 1,500 kilograms of mint, 8,500 kilograms of pepper, 1,200 kilograms of yellow and red bell peppers, 6,600 kilograms of green cabbage, 4,800 kilograms red cabbage, 67,500 kilograms of spinach, 19,200 kilograms of carrot, 29,000 kilograms of sliced carrot, 10,900 kilograms of chives, 70,000 kilograms of tomatoes, 28,100 kilograms of eggplant, 2,500 kilograms of garlic, 12,700 kilograms of Mazari squash, 20,400 kilograms of green squash, 14,000 kilograms of large lemons, 14,000 kilograms of small lemons, 9,480 kilograms of oranges, 2,300 kilograms of ginger, 16,550 kilograms of green beans, 31,950 kilograms of okra, 28,100 kilograms of large cauliflower, 100 kilograms of quadrangular cabbage, 100 kilograms of Pashmak potatoes, 500 kilograms of mushroom, 14,125 kilograms of lettuce, 7,700 kilograms of turnips, 200 kilograms of broccoli, 50 kilograms of wild rhubarb, 50 kilograms of luffa, 6,000 kilograms of dill, 10 kilogram of fresh peas, 3,600 kilograms of shelled peas, 1,200 kilograms of cress, 10 kilograms of basil leaves, 30 kilograms of daikon and 2,400 kilograms of beetroot.

A total of 5,000,488 Afghanis was spent for the protection of prominent figures in the National Security Council office last fiscal year. According to this agreement, 16 consignments of vegetables were prepared for this department, including potatoes, onions, sliced carrot, garlic, cauliflower, peas, eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, okra, squash, turnips, carrot, pepper, and lemon.

The 30 consignments of vegetables prepared by the contracting company are worth about 31,115,035 Afghanis. Vegetables contracted for this office include high-quality potatoes, fresh and high-quality spinach, small green squash, eggplant, okra, peas, carrot, fresh cucumber, lemon, green pepper, cabbage, coriander, garlic, chives, onion, mint, large yellow squash, ginger, leafless cauliflower, bell pepper, turnip, orange, lettuce, white radish, spring onion, and sliced carrot. The value of this contract, after a discount of two million Afghanis, is 31,115,035 Afghanis.

Another 2,388,960 Afghanis were contracted to the Supreme Council for National Reconciliation for vegetables last fiscal year. According to this agreement, 30 green items were prepared for the leadership of the Supreme Council of National Reconciliation. Garlic, green peppers, coriander, sliced carrot, lemon, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, ginger, spinach, okra, spring onion, red radish, mint, lettuce, dill, cauliflower, luffa, basil leaves, turnip, peas, small lemon, chives, colored bell pepper, potatoes, squash and Mazari squash were prepared.

The total consumption supplied by the AOP, as estimated by this office, is equivalent to $804,283. These four contracts for vegetables required by the four units of the AOP have been awarded to Maulana Nasir Trading and Logistics Company. The government signatory in these contracts is the representative of the National Development Operations and Support Office.

The AOP has not provided information on contracts for meat supplied to this office and its related units. Mr. Rezaei claimed that 17 types of meat were purchased for one of the presidential offices. He estimated the value of the contract for the supply of vegetables for the administration of the presidency at “$30 million.”

Sayed Azim Kibirzani, secretary of the parliament Finance and Budget Commission, said that the details of the contracts had not been submitted to the parliament, but that goods, including food, would be provided from Item 22 of the budget. This item also includes the expenditure of judicial institutions.

According to Kibirzani, in the draft budget for 2021, 680 million Afghanis for the director-general of the high office of the president, 900 million Afghanis for the AOP, 475 million Afghanis for the office of the Security Council, and 374 million Afghanis for the director-general of presidential protection had been earmarked. This budget also included food consumption.

Speaking to 8 Subh, Sayed Azim Kibirzani said that last year, the amount of budget in Item 22 was foreseen for the mentioned departments for services and goods. According to him, there have been cases where an agency has used its budget and used other items as well.

Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said that the total budget for the purchase of goods for the AOP and the General Directorate was 1.5 billion Afghanis. He jokingly wrote that $30 million would be equivalent to 2.3 billion Afghanis, and that, according to him, the calculation had “confused all of our colleagues.”

Mr. Rezaee’s remarks have provoked widespread reactions. Many have criticized the misappropriation of money for “17 kinds” of meat and $30 million for vegetables, but the AOP has not approved this amount for vegetables.