Director and Deputy of Kabul Bank Clearance Department Arrested

The Director and Deputy of the Kabul Bank’s Clearance Department were arrested by National Directorate of Security (NDS) and law enforcement personnel this week. They are charged with receiving bribes from a debtor of the former Kabul Bank.

“Two of the senior officials of the Kabul Bank Clearance Department have been arrested by NDS while taking a $100,000 USD bribe,” Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office Chair Said Alam Ishaqzai said on Tuesday. “Their identity is not disclosed and will soon be referred to the court,” he added.

Although prosecutors declined to share the names of the officials being charged, sources close to the issue, who spoke with TOLOnews on condition of anonymity, have identified Kabir Khan, the Director of the Clearance Department, and Muhammad Aziz, his deputy.

Experts have expressed concerns in response to the news, suggesting that corruption in the bank’s clearance process would further undermine public trust in the financial sector. “Such actions question the clearance process, and in order to ensure transparency audit and control measures must be taken,” university professor Nasrullah Stanekzai told TOLOnews. “What guarantee is there that such actions have not already taken place during the clearance?”

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani, who re-opened the Kabul Bank case in late 2014, has said that all debtors to the bank must payback what they owe within a week or be referred to the Attorney General’s office and banned from exiting the country.

“The president has ordered that if the debtors of Kabul Bank do not return their loans by the end of this week, then they will be referred to the Attorney General’s office,” Ishaqzai said.

According to officials, 18 individuals and institutions constitute debtors of the bank. They include: Abdul Ghafar Dawy, Mahmood Karzai, Haseen Faheem, Gulbahar Habeebi, Haji Muhammad Tahir Zahir, Ghulam Dawood, Ghulam Farooq, Sofi Nesar, Shukrullah Shukran, Hayatullah Kookcha, Akhtar Muhammad, Halak Jan, Muhammad Tahir, Hairatan Oil, Kabul Oil, Pamir Airlines, Gulbahar Tower, Shaheen Money Exchange, Ariana Steel, Zahir Group and Gas Group. Of them, only Mahmood Karzai, Gulbahar Habibi and Ghafar Dawy have publicly committed to paying back their debt.

The assets of the 18 individuals and institutions have been frozen inside and outside Afghanistan. The Clearance Committee of the Kabul Bank has reported that courts in the United Arab Emirates have decided to seize the properties of debtors and return it them the government of Afghanistan.

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