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MEC not satisfied with Kabul Bank case verdict

MEC not satisfied with Kabul Bank case verdict

Mar 17, 2013 - 18:05

 KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) on Sunday slammed as unsatisfactory the judicial process of convictions in the Kabul Bank fraud case.

The MEC also criticised the government’s failure to take effective measures to recover the money it had injected into the ailing bank to improve its financial healthinfo-icon and credibility.

The bank ran into a major crisis in 2010 when nearly $900 million were siphoned out by several top officials. Later, part of the bank was handed over to the Ministry of Finance.

On March 5, a special tribunal convicted 20 accused in the loan scandal and handed down prison sentences to former executives and ordered them to return hundreds of millions of dollars they had stolen.

Ex-chairman of Kabul Bank Sher Khan Farnoud and former chief executive officer Khalilullah Ferozi were found guilty of pinching $278 million and $530 million respectively.

At a press conference, MEC head Drago Kos alleged key government departments, including the Attorney General Office, had failed to act on recent recommendations of the committee.

President Hamid Karzai’s brother Mahmud Karzai and Vice President Qasim Fahim’s brother Hasin Fahim had also obtained illegal loans from the bank, but they were not convicted, he said.

But Shamsur Rahman, the special tribunal head, said as long as the cases of Hasin Fahim and Mahmud Karzai were not investigated by the attorney general office, the court could not issue any verdict.

MEC had sent its recommendations in 48 cases to 10 departments, but they did not respond. The recommendations pertained to crime investigations, cooperation from the international community and transparency in the judicial process.

The proposals also concerned audit and accounting companies, political support and security for disclosures and a national commitment regarding the Kabul Bank probe, Kos explained.

He noted with concern the sentences handed down to the bank’s ex-chief executive officer and then chairman, who were both given five-year prison terms and ordered to pay back the millions they had stolen.

The special court handed down sentences ranging from six months to several years and, in some instances, hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, to the 21 defendants.



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