President Ashraf Ghani welcomed news of the Supreme Court's verdict on the Kabul Bank case Thursday. President Ghani, who reopened the case immediately upon taking office to demonstrate his government's commitment to combating corruption in Afghanistan, indicated the verdict would be beneficial for Afghanistan's international partnerships.
"We say that we remain allies and support us; we reopened the Kabul Bank case and signed the security agreements," Ghani said while attending the international conference on Afghanistan held in London this week. "We have complete understanding of the issues and are committed to resolving them."
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a decision previously taken by an appeals court to increase the prison terms of a number of Kabul Bank executives and to freeze the assets of those suspected of stealing money from the bank. The Supreme Court was forced to rule on the case after a number of defendants, including former President Hamid Karzai's brother, Mahmoud Karzai, objected to the appeals court's initial verdict.
The ruling is likely to be taken as closure to the case in the eyes of the international community, which has put pressure on Kabul to take action against its pervasive corruption problems before further aid packages can be promised. However, Acting Minister of Finance, Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal, has emphasized that the work is not finished until all the money embezzled from the bank is recuperated.
"The Kabul Bank corruption case will not be settled unless the money embezzled from the bank is recuperated," Zakhelwal said. "The court ruling was essential in recuperating the stolen money, the money is in a place whether it is inside our outside the country, but without a court ruling, the government wasn't able to seize the assets."
The Supreme Court's ruling on Monday became an order for implementation by Thursday, charging the Attorney General's office with carrying out the verdict. All assets belonging to defendants involved in the case are expected to be frozen.
According to the Attorney General's office, 12 million USD stolen money from the bank has been recuperated already. But of the total 913 million USD that was taken, still 729 million remains unaccounted for.