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Wahidi’s 2nd public trial ends inconclusively

Wahidi’s 2nd public trial ends inconclusively

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Jul 21, 2018 - 18:06

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A second ‘special public trial’ of suspended telecommunication and IT minister, accused of corruption and misuse of authority, on Saturday ended inconclusively due to lack of evidence.

The first trial of the former minister, Abdul Razaq Wahidi, was held on July 2, which had also ended in futile.

Wahidi was suspended as IT minister after he was accused of corruption late in 2016.

The prosecutor in-charge of the trial told today’s public hearing that Wahidi had interfered in Afghanistaninfo-icon Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) affairs and had recruited contract-based officials and seven advisors against high salaries.

Wahidi created a temporary system for collecting 10 percent phone users’ tax which caused losses to the government, he said.

The prosecutor said Wahidi installed the tax collection system in a place not accessible to observers and employed two of his relatives for controlling and watching the system.

However, Mohammad Ali Farhang, Wahidi’s defense lawyer, said all allegations against his client were baseless.

He said the collection of tax on mobile users was responsibility of the Finance Ministry and ATRA. As such, he argued, the former minister had no role in the tax recovery.

“The Attorney General Office (AGO) is being misled by a specific group through exaggerated stories which are false and against the law,” he maintained.

Abdul Razaq Wahidi also rejected claims against him and said the 10pc tax after being collected directly moved to the Ministry of Finance and the temporary system was only meant for calculating and measuring the tax.

Judge Mohammad Zaman Sangari said declared they could not reach a decision due to lack of some evidence and documents but the case could be continued in a future time after documents were produced in support of the claims.

mds/ma

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