Posts Tagged ‘Finance Ministry’
Afghanistan’s finance minister has received death threats over his handling of a banking crisis that has mired Kabul’s political elite in accusations of corruption and fraud.
Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal told American and European ambassadors in a meeting earlier this year that the threats on his life had forced him to move members of his family abroad.
Zakhilwal is currently under intense pressure from the International Monetary Fund to find a way out of a scandal that implicates Kabul’s ruling class in a case of fraud totalling almost $1 billion.
This week, the finance minister ordered a forensic audit of Kabul Bank, which handled the salaries of 300,000 soldiers, policemen and civil servants.
The investigation threatens to reveal in detail how the bank’s senior executives and shareholders, who include the brothers of both the president and vice-president, used Afghanistan’s largest private bank like a personal slush fund.
Afghan and Western officials describe how Afghanistan’s largest private bank, which nearly collapsed in September after allegations of insider lending were made public, was run as a “ponzi scheme”.
They say documents reveal how its politically connected shareholders and directors took money from the bank to buy a string of luxury villas in Dubai and two shopping centres in Kabul. Read the rest of this entry »