Pajhwok Afghan News

$7m bribe paid for Ferozi release from jail, allege MPs

KABUL (Pajhwok): Some lawmakers on Wednesday alleged Khalilullah Ferozi, former Chief Executive of Kabul Bank, was released from jail against $7 million in bribe to participate in the inauguration of his township scheme.

They claimed the deal between Ferozi and the government had been brokered by the legal advisor to the president and other officials at the Presidential Palace.

The issue was raised at Wednesday’s general session of the lower house of parliament or Wolesi Jirga by lawmaker Obaidullah Barekzai, who heads the house complaints commission and Allah Gul Mujahid, a member of the commission.

The notable businessman stood with top government officials last week as he signed the contract for a new township: 8,800 homes across 33 acres of prime real estate in the heart of the capital, with an initial investment of at least $95 million.

The project “Smart City Township” will see the Kabul Bank defaulters to take part in the investment, with government officials saying it would enable the debtors to pay their obligations.

Lawmaker Allah Gul Mujahid said: “based on documents received, the urban development minister is not at fault. His ministry has issued license for the township in compliance with directives from the president’s legal advisor.”

“Is the president sick when his legal advisor issues directives and releases a criminal who has embezzled public’s money?” he questioned.

He claiming having evidence that Ferozi was released in return for $7 million in bribe through the mediation of the president’s legal advisor and other officials close to the president.

 “They have turned the presidential palace into a Mullah Nasruddin’s house. Everybody does what they desire,” Mujahid remarked.

Obaidullah Barekzai, a lawmaker from central Uruzgan province and head of the complaints committee, said: “we summoned the urban development minister yesterday. He is not guilty. What rights the president’s advisor has to give orders for the release of Khalilullah Ferozi?”

“If the legal advisor has this much power, then President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah should leave their offices and everything to the advisor.”

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the release of a criminal from prison was not a mediocre show and the issue should be persuaded.

He said the president’s legal advisor and other top officials should be summoned to the house to elaborate on the issue.

Khalil Ferozi and Abdul Ali Mohammadi president’s advisor have not commented on the allegations. Earlier, Mohammadi had said the bank’s screening commission had decided to recover loans from defaulters in easy ways.

The Kabul appellant court has sentenced Kabul Bank executives Sher Khan Farnood and Ferozi to 10 years in jail on November 11, 2014. Based on the verdict, the convicts have to pay back the embezzled money.

The court also ordered a freeze on the assets of Mahmoud Karzai, the former president’s brother, and Haseen Fahim. Farnood has been convicted on the charge of embezzling 374 million US dollars. In addition to returning the money, he has been ordered to pay 155 million dollars in fine.

hg/ma

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