Afghan banking fat cats’ crimes


This video is called The Kabul bank crisis.

From Reuters:

Kabulbank directors were paid $500K bonuses – audit

Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:33pm GMT

By Jonathon Burch

KABUL – Afghanistan‘s ailing Kabulbank paid its top two directors and shareholders, currently under investigation for banking fraud, $500,000 (321,548 pounds) each in bonuses in 2009, according to an independent audit earlier this year.

Afghanistan‘s Central Bank said on Tuesday it had taken over the country’s top private bank because of suspected irregularities and began investigations into former chairman Sherkhan Farnood and former chief executive Khalilullah Fruzi.

Kabulbank‘s troubles have threatened to add a financial crisis to Afghanistan’s other woes, with military and civilian casualties at record levels as a Taliban-led insurgency grows. Parliamentary elections will be held on Saturday.

Farnood and Fruzi were ordered to stand aside. Fears over the bank resulted in a run this month as many of the bank’s jittery customers rushed to withdraw savings even though the government and the central bank assured them their money was safe.

Farnood and Fruzi received bonuses of $500,000 each in 2009, according to an audit conducted by the Pakistan-based accountancy firm A.F. Ferguson & Co, a member company of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The audit, published on February 10, showed that Farnood and Fruzi were the only two directors to receive bonuses.

Central Bank Governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat told Reuters on Tuesday he had requested another international audit of Kabulbank “six or eight months ago.”

The Kabulbank case has raised questions about the handling of funds from Western donor countries, channelled through a nascent commercial banking sector that the United States has encouraged Afghanistan to build.

The crisis at Kabulbank developed earlier this year after Farnood and Fruzi were told by the central bank to resign amid so far unproven media allegations of corruption at the politically powerful bank.

Fitrat said the central bank has also ordered an investigation into another leading Kabulbank shareholder, First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim’s brother, Mohammad Haseen.

Farnood and Fruzi each own 28 percent of the bank. The government and the central bank had previously said Farnood and Fruzi had stepped aside to meet new financial regulations and that Kabulbank had not been taken over.

According to the 2009 audit, Haseen’s son, Zahid Fahim, owned 2.96 percent of Kabulbank’s shares. It also showed Farnood’s wife, Farida Farnood, had a 6.68 percent stake.

Kabulbank refused to comment and it was not clear if Zahid Fahim or Farida Farnood were being investigated for banking fraud. A spokesman for the central bank could not be reached.

Mahmoud Karzai, who owns about 7 percent and is the brother of President Hamid Karzai, is not under investigation.

The bank’s customers include 300,000 government employees and it also handles salaries for Afghanistan‘s security forces.

Afghan protesters burn NATO base: here.

Kabul attack: Police shoot hundreds of protesters calling for better security in Afghanistan: here.

Demonstration outside US Base in Afghanistan against Quran-Burning Turns Violent: here.

Pakistan: Peshawar: Printers in this city near the Afghan border say they have produced thousands of fake voter registration cards at the request of Afghan politicians for use in that country’s parliamentary elections on Saturday: here.

KABUL, Afghanistan – “I have no trust in the outcome of this election,” said Sabrina Saqeb, one of only three of Afghanistan’s 68 female lawmakers who are not contesting their seats in Saturday’s elections. “That is why I have decided not to run again”: here.

Afghanistan election violence fears lead UN to evacuate third of staff: here.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged citizens to vote in Saturday’s parliamentary election despite widespread contempt for an exercise that is almost universally expected to be unfree and unfair.

The Afghanistan war is looking more and more like a re-enactment of Vietnam: here.

MalalaiJoya.com: BOOK REVIEW: RAISING MY VOICE: here.

Less than 50 percent of Europeans support the position of US President Barack Obama in Afghanistan and Iran, according to a survey. Though he has a great acceptance in European nations, contrary to his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, the Democratic leader fell slightly in levels of acceptance: here.

8 thoughts on “Afghan banking fat cats’ crimes

  1. Afghan minority leader says government blocking his voters

    Reuters – Friday, September 17

    By Hamid Shalizi

    JABAR KHAN, Afghanistan – The Afghan government has deliberately shut polling stations under a pretext of insecurity in relatively safe areas where the Hazara ethnic group dominates, their leader said on Thursday.

    Millions of Afghans will go to the polls on Saturday to choose from over 2,500 candidates running for 249 seats in the country’s wolesi jirga, or the upper house of the parliament.

    More than 30 candidates from Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq’s party, Hezb-i-Wahdat, are standing in the election in a bid to win more parliamentary seats and influence in Karzai’s government. The lawmaker is also running for re-election.

    “I believe this year’s election has already been engineered by the government who want to help their favourite candidates to win,” Mohaqiq told Reuters at his residence in Kabul. “Certainly there are political manoeuvres from people in the government against different ethnic .”

    The Afghan Independent Election Commission announced last week that nearly 15 percent of planned polling stations will not open because of poor security, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country where violence is the worst.

    But Mohaqiq said many polling stations in relatively stable areas of northern and central Afghanistan, from where he hopes to win major support, have been deliberately closed in an attempt to block Hazara votes.

    “It is a political blow to me by closing many polling sites in Bamyan where security is not an issue,” Mohaqiq said, referring to a Hazara-dominated province in central Afghanistan. “Thousands of voters will be deprived of votes.”

    Election security is a major concern with the insurgent Taliban threatening to disrupt the poll, although the government says it can provide total safety with the support of over 150,000 foreign troops present in the country.

    ELECTORAL BETRAYAL

    Mohaqiq also echoed widespread concern about vote-rigging.

    “Possible fraud from government workers who may stuff ballot boxes in volatile areas is my concern too,” he said.

    The mainly Shi’ite Hazaras have been marginalised for centuries by Sunni rulers in Kabul, and thousands were massacred under the 1996-2001 rule of the Taliban, dominated by the Sunni Pashtun ethnic majority.

    Although the Hazara numerically would be hard-pressed to threaten Karzai politically, they could do so if allied with other minorities. Karzai, a Pashtun, has managed ethnic relations by appointing minority militia leaders and their allies to positions in his government.

    In last year’s presidential elections, Karzai had promised minority leaders cabinet seats, Mohaqiq said. But several Hazara cabinet candidates were then turned down by mainly Pashtun parliamentarians in what Mohaqiq calls a betrayal.

    “We were the ones who helped Karzai win the election, and we are the ones who can topple him,” he told a crowd of mainly Hazara people who came to hear him speak at a gathering west of Kabul. “I am here to defend your rights, trampled for decades.”

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  2. NATO troops shoots at protester in S. Afghanistan

    English.news.cn 2010-09-16 20:08:09

    KABUL, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — A soldier of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force opened fire at a protester who attempted to enter a military base in the southern Uruzgan province on Thursday, a press release of the alliance said.

    However, it did not say if he was shot to dead, adding ISAF is assessing the situation and will provide more details as they become available.

    Meantime, the military alliance confirmed in the press release that some 100 Afghan civilians staged a demonstration in Chorah district today.

    Khudai Rahim, the governor of Uruzgan province, in talks with Xinhua confirmed that some people staged a demonstration to register their protest over the alleged Kuran burning by a church in the United States.

    He blamed anti-government militants for exploiting the situation and said that one civilian was killed in the incident as the vested interest elements attempted to attack security forces checkpoints.

    Similar demonstrations have left over a dozen dead and injured in other cities of Afghanistan over the past week, according to media reports.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-09/16/c_13515591.htm

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  3. NATO forces kill two anti-US protestors in southern Afghanistan

    Thu, 16 Sep 2010 11:49:49 GMT
    By : dpa
    Category : Asia (World)

    Kabul – Two protestors were killed Thursday after they tried to enter a NATO base in southern Afghanistan during a demonstration against the burning of the Koran, a police official said.

    Hundreds of men took to the streets in the Chora district of Uruzgan province, chanting “death to America” as they protested a US church’s plan to burn copies of the Koran, even though the burning did not go ahead.

    [Even though the planned Florida burning did not go ahead, announced Koran burnings in Tennessee did go ahead. in Washington DC, a Koran was torn to pieces. Administrator]

    The demonstration turned violent when the men threw stones at the military base, Gulab Khan Wardak, the deputy provincial police chief said, adding that the soldiers fired on the protestors as they tried to overrun the base.

    “Two protestors were killed, and two others were injured,” Wardak said.

    NATO also confirmed the incident in a statement, saying around 100 Afghan civilians threw rocks at soldiers guarding the base.

    It said a protestor armed with an AK-47 assault rifle tried to enter the base through a side gate and was shot by a soldier serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

    Plans by Florida minister Terry Jones to burn Korans Saturday as part of his self-proclaimed International Burn a Koran Day prompted outrage around the world, which was barely quelled by his last-minute decision to not burn one after all.

    At least four protestors were killed and dozens more injured in previous anti-Koran-burning demonstrations in Afghanistan in the past week, but Thursday was the first incident in which NATO forces were directly involved.

    On Wednesday, at least one man was killed and 35 police and 11 protestors were injured in Kabul after clashes erupted between demonstrators and police.

    The tensions came ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary elections.

    The protestors tore down candidates’ posters in Kabul on Wednesday and vowed that they would not take part in the process which is supported by US and other Western countries.

    Copyright DPA

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