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Tehran Municipality Pays Twice More Salaries Than It Has Staff

Tehran city council, undated.

A member of Iran’s capital city council has disclosed that salaries paid by Tehran’s municipality are two times more than the number of its registered staff.

In an interview with the semi-official Mehr News Agency (MNA), Majid Farahani said on October 14, “According to the statistics, while Tehran municipality’s, TM, official manpower is 68,000, it pays salaries to more than 130,000 people.”

“The municipality pays nearly 5.50 trillion rials (roughly $140 million) to more than 130,000 people each month. This is too much weight on the municipality’s shoulders.”

Farahani has also maintained, “A significant bulk of TM personnel, especially managers, are retirees and many more have been transferred from other government entities.”

Earlier, several reformist members of the current TM had criticized former mayor and IRGC commander Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf for hiring people randomly and ignoring protocol.

Qalibaf, an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ commander and former chief of police, challenged Hassan Rouhani in May’s presidential election but dropped out midway in favor of another conservative challenger. Although he has widely been accused of corruption, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed him as a member of the Expediency Council on August 14.

The reformist camp won all the seats at Tehran City Council in May elections and they did not re-elect Qalibaf as mayor .

Meanwhile, another member of the current city council, Rahmatollah Hafezi, has circulated a report from the Inspection Organization compiled about TM.

According to this report, between 2011 and 2012, TM hired 4,200 people who were relatives of religious eulogists and military or civil officials.

About 30 percent of those installed at the Tehran Metro transit company were either illiterate or hadn’t reached the level of high-school education. However, their average monthly salary was between 90 million and 110 million rials or about $4,000 at the dollar exchange rate at the time.

Furthermore, Farahani described the situation at municipality’s subsidiary companies and organizations as deeply deplorable.

At Tehran Metro, Farahani insisted, “There are more than 4,000 staff who are called ‘no position’ personnel and are practically idle.”

Furthermore, City Councilor Mahmoud Mirlohi, on October 14 cited Tehran’s mayor as saying, “The capital’s municipality is 525 trillion rials (roughly $13.5 billion).”

The volume of corruption and law violation in TM is so high that other financial fraud looks like small change in comparison, veteran politician and city councilor Morteza Alviri had earlier said.

“Corruption in Tehran’s municipality is so deeply rooted that it has become institutionalized,” Alviri had lamented on August 14.

In an interview with Students News Agency (ISNA), Alviri, formerly a mayor of Tehran (1999-2002), said the scandalous case of “astronomical estates” was the “tip of the iceberg.”

Alviri was referring to a scandal in TM in which estates worth billions of dollars were generously distributed among city councilors and City Hall staff.

Qalibaf has repeatedly denied that the capital city’s municipality was corrupted during his term.