Bids invited for sale of New Kabul Bank
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan government has decided to privatise the New Kabul Bank (NKB) but its former shareholders could not participate in the privatisation process, an official said on Wednesday.
Once the country’s largest lender, the bank plunged into deep crisis in 2009, when it lost $987 million in fraudulent property deals, massive off-book loans and credit to fake corporations, prompting the government to take over the bank’s affairs and change its name to New Kabul Bank. The government had to finance a bailout of $825 million to the bank.
Of $987 million squandered money, the government said it has recovered $437 millions. Twenty-four defaulters have paid their debts until July.
Head of Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance, Mohammad Aqa Kohistani, told journalists in Kabul, banks, other financial institutions, professional and experienced entrepreneurs who meet the technical and financial conditions could submit bids for purchasing the bank.
“We announce today that any company interested in purchasing the New Kabul Bank can submit bids by the next two months,” he said, adding that they would present a list of the potential bidders to the Cabinet after preliminary evaluation. He said they were interested in drawing bids from foreign companies.
Individuals or companies having no criminal record and have financial and technical facilities, work permit, at least $20 million bank balance, three to five years business plan, could purchase the bank, said deputy governor of the central bank, Khan Afzal Hadawal, said.
He said the New Kabul would be privatised in two phases, the first phase belonged to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the second included checking the licenses of the purchasing companies and individuals, a process to be performed by Da Afghanistan Bank (central bank), he said.
A statement from the MoF said the privatisation announcement of the bank was a major step for the betterment of the banking system, strengthening the private sector and encouraging entrepreneurship in the economic sector.
On June, 30, 2011, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) officials arrested Shir Khan Farnod and Khaliullah Ferozi, key Kabul Bank shareholders and former top executives at the bank.
Both of them were sentenced to 10 years in jail by the Supreme Court and sealed properties of two other former officials Mahmud Karzai and Haseen Fahim.
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