Ghani's Decree on Kabul Bank Symbolic: Critics
Governance and Rule of Law
Thursday, 20 August 2015
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 August 2015
Written by TOLOnews.com
Kabul Bank Case | TOLOnews

President Ashraf Ghani's decree on finalizing the Kabul Bank case and issuing a verdict to the defrauders have been considered symbolic because the decision to tackle the case was not implemented since the embezzlement, according to critics.

A number of MPs, civil society activists and citizens have strongly criticized the government for not following the case as reports indicated that 14 of the 21 perpetrators of the Kabul Bank scandal have fled the country, adding that the government must acquire the money lost.

According to the senators, the people of Afghanistan have been disappointed in how the government has handled the case calling the government negligent.

"It was a symbolic decree that had not been implemented before," Senator Hedayatullah Rehayee said. "Although, 14 of the 21 defrauders have fled the country; it would have been better had the Attorney General imposed a travel ban on the accused."

Several others believe that the Kabul Bank case has become more of a political case than an economic issue.

"The new government should have been very careful with the case, instead only the surface was scratched," said Tahir Hashimi, a university professor. "But it looks like no serious work was done in this respect and this issue will probably impact the future decrees of President Ghani."

Roughly two weeks ago, the verdict of the Kabul appellate court came after hours of discussions between the defendants, judge and prosecutors where former Chairman of Kabul Bank, Sherkhan Farnood, and the bank's former CEO, Khalilullah Ferozi, were sentenced each to 10 years in jail.

But the decision was ultimately the result of President Ashraf Ghani's six-week push to reach a conclusive end to the country's largest corruption case, an important first step, he said, to combating Afghanistan's endemic corruption.

In addition to his 10 year sentencing, Farnood was also fined $237 million. The assets of Mahmood Karzai, brother of former President Hamid Karzai, and Hasin Fahim, brother of late Marshal Qasim Fahim, were also frozen by the court. Though, Farnood and Ferozi have the right to appeal the verdict.

Kabul Bank, once the country's largest financial institution, collapsed in 2010 when it was revealed that over $900 million was embezzled by the bank's top executives.

The revelations led to a depositor panic that received international attention and helped give Afghanistan the reputation for corruption that it has today.