The much-anticipated hearing of Kabul Bank case was held at the Appellate Court in Kabul on Tuesday. The two prime accused, former Chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former chief executive officer (CEO) Khalilullah Ferozi received their verdicts.
Mr. Farnood was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 237 million USD for his involvement in the biggest banking scandal in the history of Afghanistan.
Mr. Ferozi was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The junior bank officials received sentences ranging between one and two years, besides fine of 24,000 Afs.
The government prosecutor said both Mr. Farnood and Mr. Ferozi have the right to appeal against the verdict of Appellate Court, leaving door open for them.
The court ordered to freeze the properties belonging to Mehmood Karzai, brother of former president Hamid Karzai and Hasin Fahim, brother of former vice president Marshall Qasim Fahim until they repay their debt.
Abdul Qadir Fitrat, former Head of Central Bank of Afghanistan (CBA), who had resigned from his position and fled the country, has been asked to appear before the Appellate Court.
In 2010, more than 900 million USD were allegedly embezzled from Kabul Bank and shipped out of the country by senior officials of the bank at the behest of powerful politicians.
Despite the overwhelming public interest, the story of what actually happened at Kabul Bank was never told to people. Many powerful people were allegedly let off because of political pressure.
The bank was bailed out in September 2010, when the CBA took control of its finances. Mr. Fitrat, the then Head of CBA, who was in charge of investigation, said the government put overt and covert pressure on him to save main culprits.
The names mentioned by Mr. Fitrat in Parliament included Sherkhan Farnood, Khalilullah Ferozi, Husain Fahim, Mahmood Karzai, Abdul Ghafar Dawi, Gulbahar Habibi, Tahir Zahir and Sofi Nisar.
During his election campaign, President Ghani had promised to peruse the cases of corruption, including the Kabul Bank case, which constituted the biggest financial scandal in the history of Afghanistan.
On day two after assuming power, President Ghani ordered reinvestigations into the case, and issued clear instructions to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to arrest 19 individuals involved in the case.
By Naimat Rawan (pictures and text)
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