Kabul Bank stakeholders’ properties in UAE up for sale
KABUL (PAN): Properties purchased with Kabul Bank loans in Dubai are being sold, senior officials told the Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday, warning borrowers of referring their cases to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) if they failed to return loans within 10 days.
Kabul Bank, once the country’s largest private sector lender, ran into a grave financial crisis due to unauthorised credit and other anomalies in 2010. As a result, the government partially took over the bank to bring it back to financial health.
Properties purchased with the anomalous loans in the UAE include 17 residential houses and two high-rise buildings, according to First Deputy Governor of Da Afghanistan Bank Mohibullah Sapi.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Da Afghanistan Bank Governor Noorullah Dilawari and Kabul Bank’s audit committee chief, Abdul Hameed Mohabbi, appeared before the lower house to brief lawmakers on progress in recovery of loans.
Mohabbi told the house so far $101 million of the loans had been recovered and 15 properties were being audited in the UAE. Of them, nine buildings were offered for sale in some time ago, he said.
But Zakhiwal said most of the loanees were powerful individuals and it was not easy to recover the money from them. He revealed some of the defaulters had already been referred to the AGO. The minister has urged the AGO to send the borrowers’ cases it had finalised to court.
Without putting a figure on the cases that were ready to be sent to court, Zakhilwal said he had consulted on the issue with the Supreme Court, which had assured him of full cooperation in recovery of the infected portfolio.
Small borrowers had been given two months time to repay the money and the deadline would expire in 10 days, he said. “If the loanees fail to repay within 10 days, their cases will be sent to the AGO,” he explained.
The minister urged the Wolesi Jirga to create a committee for cooperation with the government in addressing the banking crisis. But a number of lawmakers insisted the audit committee should make public the names of big-time defaulters.
The audit committee head earlier told the house it could not reveal the names of borrowers until a court verdict was handed down in the case.
Bowing to continued insistence from MPs, Mohabbi said the bank’s founders ---Sher Khan Farnood -- had to return $279 million, President Hamid Karzai’s brother Mehmood Karzai $16.9 million and first vice-president’s brother Mohammad Hussain Fahim $4.4 million.
Other big loanees are Tahir Zahir, who has to repay $16 million, Ghulam Daud Nasib $9.2 million, Sufi Nisar $14 million, Shukrullah Shakran $2.1 million, Istiqlal township owner Haji Khalil $22 million, Kabul Bank Director Khalilullah Ferozi $45.5 million and Hayatullah $1.7 million. The borrowers are also the bank stakeholders.
He named some organistaiions, including a gas import firm that borrowed $121 million, the Hairatan Fuel Sorting Company $30 million, Kabul Fuel Company $21 million and the Pamir Airlines $90 million. “These firms belong to the stakeholders,” he said.
Dilawari said the central bank had injected $825 million into the Kabul Bank to help it overcome the crisis. But a number of legislators, not satisfied with statements from the officials, wanted the finance minister and the Kabul Bank chief to be summoned.
In response, Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi agreed the process of summoning the two officials should be set in motion.
Meanwhile, the assembly decided to initiate a debate on the strategic deal between Afghanistan and the US three days later. The pact, signed by President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama on May 1, has been placed before the house for approval..
The decision to discuss the agreement comes a day after some parliamentary panel heads stormed out of a joint meeting in protest against the administrative board’s refusal to include the agreement in the agenda for next week.
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