Hearing adjourned in Kabul Bank case till Tuesday
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Kabul court of appeal on Monday adjourned an open hearing into the Kabul Bank case till Tuesday without handing down any verdict in the historic scandal that once pushed the national economy to near collapse.
Most of the accused in the multimillion dollars scam were present at today’s hearing to defend themselves.
The attorney told the jury that Kabul Bank former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former CEO Khalilullah Ferozi were the main accused in collapsing once the country’s largest private lender.
He said Farnood had spent bank deposits in illegal places and villas and paved the ground for further anomalies.
But Farnood rejected all allegations against him as unfounded, saying the fraud took place after the bank was surrendered to the government.
“Why Abdul Qadir Fitrat, former governor of the Central Bank, and his subordinates are not present at the hearing despite their involvement in the scandal,” he said.
He said he had been in prison over the past some time without any trial, calling it injustice. He said if a transparent accountability was conducted, he was ready to return loans he owed to the bank.
Ferozi said all loans had been issued in line with banking system and as a Kabul Bank CEO, he was responsible to answer for nearly $37 billion afghanis.
An investigation by the Joint Independent Anti-Corruption Committee reveals so far $170 million of the $962 million stolen money has been recovered.
Farnood told the court that his assets in Afghanistan and abroad had been sold without bringing it into the knowledge of the government and his.
He said if he had been informed of the liquidation, he would have sold the properties for a high price. “I can prove that I have returned all the loan money and now the government owes money in loan to me.”
The hearing began ahead of a presidential deadline that expires this weekend. President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Oct 1 issued a decree, directing relevant state institutions to immediately address the Kabul bank issue and restitute its assets.
The decree, enforceable at once in accordance with Article 64 of the Constitution, is aimed to recover the bank’s loans and stolen funds.
The bank plunged into deep crisis in 2009, when it lost $835 million in fraudulent property deals, massive off-book loans and credit to fake corporations, prompting the government to take over the bank’s affairs.
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