TCC Takes Aim at TM’s Financial Record

TCC Takes Aim at  TM’s Financial Record TCC Takes Aim at  TM’s Financial Record

The Tehran City Council (TCC) session for the second time last week saw the mayor joining discussions about social pathologies (behaviors and values attributed to particular social categories) in the capital’s historic neighborhood of Harandi in District 12 and plans to improve the quality of life for its residents.

The 211th session of the TCC started an hour early, so that members could pay more attention to the main agenda; however again, a large part of the meeting was devoted to the unending debate on financial irregularities at the Tehran Municipality (TM), the Persian language newspaper ‘Shargh’ reported.

During the meeting Rahmatollah Hafezi, head of the TCC Health Committee warned that any negligence towards audit reports “will be seen as abetting violators in cases of financial fraud.”

According to Article 73 of the Islamic Councils Law, “the results of TCC inspections of companies and corporations affiliated to or managed by the municipalities should be notified to the mayor who must act in cases of misappropriation,” he said.  

The law is also clear in stating that all financial operations of the Tehran Municipality should take place under the council’s supervision. To achieve this end, the law calls for annual audit of municipal activities in different fields and the audit reports are transparent, he added.  

Hafezi pointed to the failed audit of investment companies of Shahr, Traffic Control and Milad Tower in the year 2013 and said, “Ertebat Moshtarake Shahr Co., Tehran Social and Cultural Affairs Co., Tehran Occupations and Industries Organizing Co., Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway Operation Co., Shahre Salem Co. and Abbas Abad Renovation Co., all lacked sufficient audit and our auditors were unable to comment on them.”

Pointing to excessive spending on different municipal projects, he said while the council approved $3.1 million and $5.9 million for the ‘Manzoomeye Shamsi’ (planetarium) and ‘Nature Bridge’ municipal projects, the TM had spent $6 million and $13.6 million respectively on them.

Alireza Dabir, a member of the TCC Presiding Board, said audit reports are not confidential. “At previous meetings we discussed TM violations for several hours, but only a few of the violations were published on the council’s website.”

The newspaper did not comment on what the mayor, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, said in his own defense or in support of the municipality’s questionable performance.

 Rehab Centers Lacking

After the hot debate on municipal finances, the councilors discussed social problems in District 12, where a large number of street children, urban homeless and drug addicts dwell. It is also inhabited by many Afghans married to Iranian women, whose children lack Iranian citizenship and thus are deprived of social, health and educational benefits as well as other services such as subsidies and the like. In other words, they have no civil rights and lack identity cards and birth certificates.

During the meeting, Gholam Hussein Esmaeili, head of the Tehran Province Judicial branch, said in addition to Harandi, there are 38 other neighborhoods with a high number of street addicts.

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation centers are not enough to house them all so construction of more shelters and rehab centers should be placed on the TM agenda, he added.

According to a survey in 2013, there were 34,000 urban homeless in the capital. Junkies account for 40% of minor crimes like drug dealing, pick-pocketing, and petty thefts and, therefore, can create social insecurity.