Referring to government’s recent move to include bankrupt debtors of Kabul Bank to a housing scheme project, the legal experts said Friday that Afghanistan’s laws do not allow a criminal who is sentenced to ten years or more in jail to sign a contract or benefit from government privileges.
Based on the Criminal Law of Afghanistan, a convict who has been charged with maximum punishment is not allowed for any of the following activities. Some of them are: to sign a contract; become a head or CEO of an organization; become a member of board of directors; become a parliamentarian; or benefit from other government privileges.
But contrary to all above statements, the government in an unexpected move launched the “Smart City Township” project on Wednesday in which Khalilullah Ferozi, one of the biggest convicts in Kabul Bank scandal, shares a big part in the project – worth over $900 million USD.
The project was launched in a special ceremony attended by President Ashraf Ghani’s legal adviser Abdul Ali Mohammadi, Ghani’s special representative for reform and good governance, Ahmad Zia Massoud and other government officials.
According to officials, the project will help the debtors to resume their businesses in order to be able to repay their obligations.
But this act, according to legal experts, has questioned the credibility of the judicial institutions of Afghanistan.
They say this decision illustrates government’s lack of knowledge of law and also indicates a possible secret deal behind the unlawful move.
“Release of a criminal from prison is against the law,” law professor Nasrullah Stanekzai said. “Mitigating the charges of a criminal or signing a contract with him is against the law.”
The shocking news led to mounting criticism of government – whose main slogan was to eradicate corruption and begin it with addressing the Kabul Bank case.
Officials of anti-corruption bodies also strongly criticized the government for releasing a corrupt person from jail.
According to them, this act of government will lead to a big public mistrust in government’s years of efforts to curb corruption.
“His [Ferozi’s] release [from prison] is an obvious violation of Afghanistan’s Constitution and the Criminal Law,” said Sayed Ghulam Hussain Fakhri, acting head of Afghanistan’s High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption.
Kabul Bank, once the country’s largest financial institution, was badly shaken and collapsed in 2010 in one of the largest banking schemes in the country’s history.
The former chairman of Kabul Bank, Sherkhan Farnood, and CEO Ferozi were sacked from their positions and arrested over the embezzlement of more than $900 million USD in cash and assets.
Ferozi and Farnood were sentenced each to 10 years in jail in a court verdict last November after they were found guilty in the collapse of Kabul Bank, now run by the government.