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Govt assailed over allowing Ferozi to make money

Govt assailed over allowing Ferozi to make money

Nov 05, 2015 - 19:08

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) on Thursday said allowing convicted debtors of Kabul Bank in key projects “is a challenge for economy and credibility of Afghanistan.”

Former Kabul Bank chief executive Khalilullah Ferozi, who was convicted in the Kabul Bank scandal, on Wednesday launched a township project “Hoshmand” with initial investment of $98 million.

Ferozi and Sher Khan Farnud were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail in Dec, 2014 in the big scandal.

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.

The scandal prompted 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 says it has recovered $437 millions so far. Twenty-four defaulters have paid their debts until July.

However, Syed Akram Afzali, IWA executive director, said the release of Ferozi from jail and giving him part in the township project was not an acceptable act by the government. “It shows that the government still deals with the issue on the basis of political favour,” he told a press conference here.

Afzali said it was not expected from the government that it would let convicted persons get part in such important projects. “It is not only a mistake, but a big injustice with the people of Afghanistan.”

He said people who had to be behind the bars were allowed to move freely under the pretext to repay loans. He said the government’s attitude showed it was not seriously committed to ending corruption and remained under pressure from corrupt people.

“I strictly ask the government not to allow people who lost credibility among the people, convicted by court and who challenged the economy and credibility of Afghanistan to loot for a second time,” he said.

“We strongly ask the government to shun its forgiveness policy. Such people should not only to be strictly deal with, but should be punished to set an example for others not to loot people’s money”, he said.

He said if the government did not take strict measures about the Kabul Bank scandal, it would lose its credibility in the eyes of the Afghans and the international community and would also face serious challenges,.

He asked the international community to put pressure on the Afghan government to enforce law on convicted individuals who should not be allowed to play with the country’s laws.

However, legal advisor to president Abdul Ali Mohammadi said the Kabul Bank screening commission had decided to retake the loans from the debtors through easy ways and methods.

He said the aim was not to keep Kabul Bank debtors imprisoned, but to return the government and people’s money.