Kandahar bank robbers ready to return money
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Officials who raided their own bank in southern Kandahar province last month have issued a statement on a website saying they took away the money to save it from robbers and would return the cash if their demands were met.
The three central bank workers have reportedly escaped with about 86 million afghanis after robbing their own branch in the Spin Boldak border town.
Security cameras at the branch showed its vault had been cleaned out and the group had removed CCTV recordings before fleeing to Pakistan, but investigators were hopeful that footage could be recovered from the cameras’ memory chips.
The raid was reportedly carried out by a senior official at the bank, an employee of nine years, with the help of his son and brother-in-law who were also on the rolls.
In their statement, the three bank officials said they had removed the cash to prevent it from being looted by robbers and would return it if their demands on corruption were met.
But regional director Fazel Ahmad Azimi said he did not believe the statement had been issued by the three workers and that corruption could not be combated with corruption.
To investigate the issue, a central bank delegation from Kabul has arrived in Kandahar and has launched its investigation with the help of security officials, but has been unable so far to trace the whereabouts of the three officials.
But it is said the senior official has sent a statement to a website saying they would return the money if their conditions were met.
He said not on a single afghani from the money had been spent or changed into a foreign currency and the money was withdrawn in reaction to corruption by the bank officials and after his repeated calls seeking help of higher ups fell on deaf ears.
He urged President Ashraf Ghani to intervene and deal corrupt bank officials with an iron fist. Addressing the Kandahar police chief, the bank official said he had withdrawn the money to fight corruption and convey his message to high officials. He said if their demands were accepted, they would return the money to the government.
Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Razaq said the bank’s official statement had not reached him directly but he had information that the statement had been published in a website.
The police chief said if the statement really belonged to the bank official and if he proved his loyalty to Afghanistan, he would not be harmed and his conditions would be accepted.
But Fazel Ahmad Azimi said he did not believe the statement belonged to the bank official who looted the money. “You cannot fight corruption by committing corruption,” he remarked.
He said the delegation from Kabul and security officials were investigating the issue and those who had guaranteed loyalty of the bank officials during their appointments had been arrested and were being questioned.
The central bank has also sought Interpol’s help in arresting the three officials, the regional director said.
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