Raqqa: Corrupt employees say salaries not enough; AANES justifies
Raqqa – Hussam al-Omar
The 35-year-old Hussein agreed to pay 20,000 Syrian pounds in exchange for facilitating his paperwork by an employee of the Raqqa Civil Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
Hussein (reserving his full name for security reasons) told Enab Baladi that the AANES employee had hinted to him that he should pay a bribe by repeating the phrase “the salary is not enough” in an explicit attempt from him to obtain money in exchange for his signature and stamp.
Hussein indicated that the employee told him that the salary he receives is 300,000 Syrian pounds (about 65 US dollars), which is hardly enough for the first week of the month, so “he is forced to accept bribes from residents who visit the department in which he works to facilitate their affairs.”
Workers at the institutions of AANES, which controls most of the governorates of Raqqa, al-Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, and parts of the Aleppo countryside, claim that their salaries are low compared to the living needs required to meet the daily expenses of their families.
The salaries of workers in the AANES start at 260,000 Syrian pounds (50 US dollars), which are teachers’ salaries, and gradually rise according to the institution in which the employee works, the position or certificate he holds until it reaches 900,000 Syrian pounds (200 US dollars).
AANES condones corruption
One of the employees of the General Control Commission of Raqqa Civil Council told Enab Baladi that the Commission had proved many corruption cases against employees working in the AANES institutions.
“Most of the decisions taken against the corrupt were transfers to another institution, and they are rarely held accountable,” he added.
The worker, who declined to be named for security reasons, stated that the AANES institutions whose work is directly related to the services of residents are the most corrupt, such as the institutions that grant agricultural and industrial licenses and building licenses.
“The AANES officials are surely aware of the spread of corruption among workers in the institutions, and the role of the economic situation and the low salaries in this,” a member of the Economic Committee of the Raqqa Civil Council told Enab Baladi.
However, the AANES options are currently limited in fighting corruption due to the extent of internal and external pressures facing the “administration” and making the task of eliminating corruption impossible, according to what the member of the Economic Committee said.
At the end of July 2021, Lawrence al-Bursan, a member of the Follow-up Committee emanating from the People of the Jazira and Euphrates Conference, said that the Autonomous Administration ignored corruption files submitted to it by the Economic Committee.
Al-Bursan urged the General Control Commission to activate its role more, in line with the need to combat and eliminate corruption in the joints of the AANES institutions.
A member of the Follow-up Committee considered that ignoring and not implementing the recommendations made by the committee “impedes its work and undermines its efforts to follow up on the recommendations of the Conference of the People of the Jazira and the Euphrates.”
In early December 2021, AANES raised the monthly salaries of all employees in its institutions by 30% as of the beginning of last April.
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