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Torkham scanner remains faulty after months

Torkham scanner remains faulty after months

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On
Sep 17, 2017 - 19:51

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The scanner machine at the Torkham border customs department in eastern Nangarhar province has been out-of-order for the past several months. The machine is used to detect explosives and drugs.

People’s representatives said they were concerned about the inactive scanner at the border crossing with Pakistaninfo-icon. They alleged the scanner had been “intentionally” damaged, but officials said the machine has technical faults.

Deputy head of the Nangarhar provincial council, Dr. Lal Mohammad Durrani, accused the customs authorities of “intentionally” damaging the scanner in order they could continue their corruption.

While officials said the machine was experiencing technical difficulties for many years and the problem had been shared with the ministry concerned.

Dr. Durrani said the machine was useful in ensuring transparency and preventing drug trafficking to the country.

But the scanner was a hurdle to illegal business of some officials, the public representative alleged.

“This machine belongs to the Customs Department and was incapacitated with orders from the commissionerate officials, customs officials are also involved in this.”

“The commissionerate and the customs department are two different institutions, but they would not reactivate this machine because they are afraid of it.”

He considered repairing of the machine as important and said the scanner played key role in preventing corruption and insecurity, weapons and drugs.

However, Torkham commissionerate officials rejected the claims of Dr. Durrani.

They said the scanner was damaged due to a clash between Afghan and Pakistani forces in Torkham last year.

Commissioner Qais Shenwari told Pajhwok the scanner did not belong to his department and that it was damaged after being hit a mortar during the border skirkish.

“We have submitted several documents to the central government to repair the machine.”

On the other hand, Nangarhar customs department head Ilhamuddin Mazhar denied customs or Torkham commissionerate officials were involved in damaging thes scanner.

He told Pajwhok the scan machine had technical problems and there were no professional technicians to repair it.

“Unfortunately, we lack professionals to maintain advanced technology equipment; this problem is not only confined to the scanner.”

Mazhar said in addition to Torkham, around 35 scanners were installed at several ports and cross points all over the country, but all of them remained inactive for long times due to lack of standard hardware and professional technicians.

Mazhar also said the American embassy had signed a contract with a foreign company to install the scanner at Torkham.

The company trained some people on how to use the machine but none of them was professional. He said they were trying to sign contracts with other companies in order to repair the machine.

Torkham customs department officials provided documents they had sent to the Ministry of Finance about the scanner, but there was no response from the ministry.

It has been mentioned in the documents that the scanner machine was damaged due to technical problems years ago.

More than six of such documents were shown to Pajhwok, in which the concerned departments have been asked for help in repairing the scanner.

It is not known when the scanner will be repaired, but customs officials said promises to resolve the issue soon have been made with them.

SMEA/ma

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