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Heavier punishment for Kabul Bank officials sought

Heavier punishment for Kabul Bank officials sought

Mar 13, 2013 - 20:27

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office head on Wednesday said jail sentences awarded to 21 Kabul Bank officials, including two executives, by the special tribunal on Tuesday were too light and shorter given the extent of the fraud.

At a hearing in the multi-millions of dollars corruption scandal that led to the largest private sector bank's collapse two years ago, Judge Shams-ul-Rahman Shams said the bank's former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former chief executive officer Khalilullah Ferozi were guilty of misappropriating $278 million and $530 million, respectively. Farnood and Ferozi were also ordered to pay back these funds.

Farnood said he had become the scapegoat for the real culprits at the bank. Ferozi said he did not accuse anyone but felt there needed to be a fuller accounting of the money. He swore to pay back any funds he was shown to have stolen.

The two were among 21 Kabul Bank and government employees found guilty of wrongdoing -- the first convictions from the debacle that erupted in 2010 and saw $861 in fraudulent loans disappear into the pockets of friends and relatives of the powerful men behind the bank.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office head Sayed Alam Ishaqzai told a press conference in Kabul that the office planned to appeal the verdicts as the sentences given were not in accordance with the original charges prosecutors filed.

The special court handed down sentences ranging from six months to several years and, in some instances, hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, to the 21 defendants.

But Ishaqzai said the judges altered the charges, making them more lenient than the ones in the original indictment, insisting they wanted heavier punishment and long-term imprisonment for all the culprits “It’s not in accordance with our indictment. There is no balance between the crime and punishment,” he said.


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