The governor of Afghanistan's central bank, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, has resigned

Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 | Comments Off on The governor of Afghanistan's central bank, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, has resigned

The governor of Afghanistan’s central bank, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, has resigned and fled the country, saying his life is in danger for investigating fraud.

He said the government had interfered in his efforts to pursue those responsible for corruption at the privately-owned Kabul Bank.

Mr Fitrat was speaking from the US where he has residency. He says he will not return to Afghanistan.

An Afghan government spokesman said the resignation amounted to treason.

Waheed Omar, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman, also added that Mr Fitrat was himself under investigation.

The embezzlement at Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s largest private bank, almost led to its collapse last year.

Investigators say that the bank made hundreds of millions of dollars of inappropriate loans. It handles most of the government payroll, including salaries for policemen and teachers.

It was bailed out in September, which is when the central bank also took control of its finances. President Karzai has previously pledged to fully investigate those involved in the crisis.

‘High profile figures’

“It was information from credible sources that my life was in danger and I cannot name any specific source for that but it was a credible information,” Mr Fitrat told the BBC on Monday.

“During [the] last 10 months during Kabul Bank crisis, I continuously pressed for the creation of a special prosecution, for the creation of a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute those who were involved in Kabul Bank’s fraud,” he said.

He said he realised his life was in danger after he spoke to parliament and “exposed some people who are responsible for the crisis of Kabul Bank”.

Earlier this year, Mr Fitrat publicly named in parliament high-profile figures who were allegedly involved.

Some of President Karzai’s relatives, including his brother, Mahmoud Karzai, were among those named in connection with the scandal.

Mahmoud Karzai is not being investigated for any wrongdoing related to the bank’s collapse.

In May, a report by Afghanistan’s anti-corruption office showed about $467m (about £290m) of outstanding loans were made without appropriate documentation or collateral.

President Karzai has said that Afghanistan lacks the necessary banking experience to oversee the institution and has blamed foreign advisers.

He has also pledged to ensure that those responsible are subject to criminal investigations.

 

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