Popal rejects unlawful demands, declines cabinet slot
KABUL (Pajhwok): Minister-designate Ghulam Jilani Popal has declined accepting the finance minister slot, a knowledgeable source said on Monday.
Popal served as head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) during the administration of former president Hamid Karzai.
The decision comes as a setback to the unity government. Another minister-designate, Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, is wanted by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
A report on the Interpol website says: “Haidari is wanted by the judicial authorities of Estonia to serve a sentence for large-scale tax evasion and fraudulent conversion.”
The ministers-designate are scheduled to be introduced to the Wolesi Jirga for a confidence vote tomorrow (Tuesday).
A Presidential Palace official, meanwhile, confirmed that the nominee had regretted accepting the portfolio due to inordinate demands from lawmakers.
“A number of legislators (Wolesi Jirga members) have asked him for the appointment of up to 400 people in different custom departments,” the source claimed.
Similarly, some public representatives even demanded the posts of deputy finance minister and directors. A five-member group of MPs is allegedly cutting deals with ministers-designate over the vote of confidence.
The official revealed that some lawmakers had asked Popal for $50,000 in return for the trust vote. Several women public representatives have made identical demands on other nominees.
For his part, Popal refused to accept unconstitutional demands from the MPs and chose to opt out, according to the source.
On the other hand, the Wolesi Jirga deputy secretary told Pajhwok: “I have heard nothing like this. I don’t think Popal will say such denigrating things about public representatives.”
Irfanullah Irfan insisted the parliamentarians had asked no one for cash or anything else in return for the vote of confidence. They would vote on merit, he assured.
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