MoF names 2 preferred New Kabul Bank buyers
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Tuesday identified two ‘preferred buyers’ of the New Kabul Bank and asked the companies, including a local firm and a Pakistani bank, to submit their technical proposals in the next four months.
Once the country’s largest lender, the Kabul Bank plunged into deep crisis in 2009, when it lost $987 million in fraudulent property deals, huge off-book loans and credit to fake corporations. The big-time scam prompted the government to take over the bank’s affairs and change rename it as New Kabul Bank.
Later, the government announced a $825 million bailout plan for the bank, whose scandal soon came to be the talk of the town. The scam angered international donors besides generating a heated debate in Parliament. Of $987 million stolen, the government claims having recovered $437 million. Twenty-four defaulters returned their debts until July, 2015.
Mohammad Aqa Kohistani, treasure department director at the Ministry of Finance, told a press conference here that the government had invited bids for the New Kabul Bank to privatize it.
He said after the assessment of documents of the interested companies, two firms, the Joint-Stock Company and the Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd of Pakistan could meet the conditions for purchasing the bank.
The conditions for purchasing the bank included having more than $20 million in account, banking license, having a professional team and their proposals should be technical, he said, adding that former shareholders of the Kabul Bank were not eligible for the deal as per the conditions.
The JSC showed more than $167 million bank balance, saying if they won the bidding, the company would invest nearly $1 billion in the bank, Kohistani said, adding the Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd also met the conditions.
The two companies could submit their technical and professional proposals to the Ministry of Finance in the next four months, he said. One of the two companies getting top marks would be declared as the winner after evaluation of their proposals, he said.
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