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MPs: Another bank on the verge of collapse

MPs: Another bank on the verge of collapse

Jul 11, 2011 - 17:21

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): A number of Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members on Monday claimed they had credible information that another private bank, Azizi Bank, was on the verge of collapse due to mismanagement.

Azizi Bank has been operating in Afghanistaninfo-icon for five years.

"I have information showing the bank is in crisis," Abdul Zahir Qadir, a lawmaker from eastern Nangarhar province, told the house.

He claimed a high ranking official at the bank had asked him not to raise the issue on the house floor. "He offered me a bribe of one million dollars," the lawmaker claimed.

Without naming the banker, Qadir promised to reveal the banker’s recorded voice to the lower house in the next session.

He also said the Worldinfo-icon Bank and the International Monetary Fund wanted to launch a probe into the bank's affairs, but they were not allowed to do so.

Last year, the country's largest private bank, Kabul Bank, was driven to the brink of collapse after hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans came to light. Loan recipients included some members of President Karzai's inner circle.

Another lawmaker from western Farah province, Samiullah Samim, said that the former central bank governor, Abdul Qadir Fitrat, had told a Parliamentary panel that Azizi Bank was near collapse after it loaned out $500 million.

His statement was echoed by a lawmaker from Ghorinfo-icon province, Qurban Kohistani, who said officials of the bank had transferred $540 million to Dubai, in the UAE.

He also accused the bank of illegally constructing buildings in Kabul in connivance with the Onyx private construction company.

After a prolonged debate, deputy speaker Khalid Pakhtun, who presided over the session, said the acting central bank governor would be summoned to the house to address the issue on Saturday.

Bank officials did not return calls for comment.


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