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Kabul Bank probe won’t wind up sans results: VP

KABUL: The first vice-president Abdul Rashid Dostum on Monday said that investigation in the Kabul Bank scandal would not wind up unless those all involved in the case were not brought to the court of justice.

While introducing the new finance minister Muhammad Eklil Hakemi to the ministry staffers, the vice president said the probe will continue to the ultimate end as it was one of his top priorities to bring Afghanistan back embezzled money.

He claimed that he would prove to the international community that Afghanistan is serious about ending corruption while arresting every individual that is involved in the scandal.  “I will discuss the Kabul Bank scandal in the upcoming meeting of the National Security Council in order to accelerate efforts for bringing back the stolen public money. The bank will stand once again on its own feet,” the vice president reiterated.

The national finance adviser to the president Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal appreciated the Wolesi Jirga for giving vote of confidence to Eklil Hakemi and termed him best choice for the ministry.

He said the finance ministry has a good track record in the world as it has the best tax collection system in the region with more transparency. “Ministry of Finance has attracted $18 billion in Tokyo Conference. It shows its capacity and trust of the international community over it,” he said.

Muhammad Eklil Hakemi vowed to fight corruption by tooth and nail and implement all the laws and relevant rules and regulations in his office to end the culture of graft.

“I will bring reforms in the ministry, particular will improve the mechanism of revenues and customs collections and will reduce the expenditures,” said Hakemi, adding that he would not let anyone to misuse his name for personal interests.

The minister said that he would start from himself to introduce reforms and asked his subordinates and colleagues to inform him if anyone tried to use his name for personal gains or any other wrongdoing.

According to a news report published by New York Times, an Afghan judge tripled the sentences of two ex-chiefs of the Kabul Bank to 15 years.

“The former bank officials — its founder, Sherkhan Farnood, and former chief executive, Khalilullah Frozi — had been convicted of taking $810 million from the bank and originally sentenced to five years in prison each. Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, announced on Oct. 1 that he would reopen the inquiry into the theft of almost $1 billion from the bank in 2010, fulfilling a campaign promise to make fighting corruption a priority,” New York Times reported. (Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi)

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