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President urged to recover ‘looted money’ from Turkish, American firms

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Scores of Afghan companies on Sunday alleged different American and Turkish firms of ‘looting’ over $100 million from local contractors. The local companies urged President Ashraf Ghani for justice.

Representative of the Afghan companies, Sayed Qaribullah Sadat, said that the US and Turkish construction firms have deprived Afghan construction and logistic companies of over $100 million. He asked the National Unity Government (NUG) for measures to recover the looted money.

Speaking at a press conference here he claimed that BYA, LAKESURE, PRDCCEA, ECCI, HLH, ACI, SUPREME, Read Sea and Metag are the companies that took away Afghan construction and logistic companies’ money with support of the Corps of Engineering in the past.

Since 2011, Afghan companies seeking justice by referring the case to different relevant national and international organizations including Attorney General Office, but the response and outcome is unsatisfactory, he said, adding, “Despite referring the case to the judicial bodies, no action was taken against the accused foreigners, and they successfully left the country without any problem.”

Rohullah, an affected Afghan trader, said that they have filed complaints with international organizations including the US Embassy in Kabul and SIGAR, but the two bodies have no interest to address grievances of the Afghan companies. “If the government cannot support local investors, then how it can provide a better ground to foreign investment in the country,” he added.

Akbar Abidi, another complainer, termed lack of specific policy for investment as main challenge behind the issue.

He said the Afghan government should draft a comprehensive policy for supporting investment and take bank guaranties from contractors to prevent repetition of such cases in future. For the last four years, 54 companies are seeking justice through national and international organization, but no satisfactory step was taken.

The foreign companies have taken away the money from local companies in different construction projects of the ministries of defense and interior as well as construction of roads in different provinces.

Afghan companies also issued a resolution in which they asked the government to address their problem. Owners of the companies have warned of continued protests if the money was not recovered.

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