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Watchdog faults Ghani administration for ‘inertia’ about Kabul Bank fraud

AT News

KABUL: Integrity Watch Afghanistan says President Ghani’s administration has recovered a meager $30 million connected to the massive embezzlement from Kabul Bank, faulting the government of national unity for twiddling its thumbs with regard to the billion-dollar scandal.

The watchdog said Tuesday that President Ghani has not held his end of the bargain to prosecute the real offenders and instead politicized the scandal, arguing that Ghani’s predecessor – the ex-government led by Hamed Karzai – had retrieved nearly 300 million dollars in cash.

Kabul Bank went bankrupt nine years ago after its CEO and shareholders illegally withdrew $900 million. The bank held roughly $1.3 million dollar in banknotes before the embezzlement.

The case has been passed from one government to another and President Ghani had promised in the outset of his presidency to retrieve the money and put a seal on the embezzlement case.

Mohammad Ikram Fazli, the Integrity Watch Afghanistan head said, “Unfortunately, since the beginning, the KB case has been dealt with, politically, and the main culprits of the case have never been prosecuted.”

However, the attorney general said the Kabul Bank’s case had been taken to the court on time, and that the offenders had been jailed as per the court’s verdict.

Jamshid Rasouli, the attorney general’s spokesperson said in the matter, “The case has been prosecuted once on the National Unity Government’s watch, and the judiciary has finalized the case. Offenders, who were found guilty, were sent to jail.”

The aftershocks of the Kabul Bank crisis shocked investors and economists. That is to say that the court found Khalil Firouzi and Shirkhan Farnoud guilty, but later on, Firouzi received the contract of constructing a town from the Ministry of Urban Development and Land, and on the verge of the election, Firouzi was released from the Jail.

According to critics, Firouzi’s political support helped him bypass the law. While Shirkhan Farnoud ended up dead in jail.

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