The Kabul Bank Recovery Department has recovered more than $15 million of the bank’s embezzled funds over the last year, much of which was from Khalilullah Frozi, the former CEO of the bank.
According to Rohullah Habib, head of the Kabul Bank Recovery Department, $987 million is the total amount lost during the scandal, of which he said “$400 million has been recovered so far." Recovery of the remaining amount is "in process."
Habib clarified that $61 million has been collected out of the $272 million owed by Sher Khan Farnood, the founder and former head of the Kabul Bank who died in prison in August 2018. He was accused of being among the top embezzlers.
According to Habib, Khalilullah Frozi owes $196 million to Kabul Bank and has paid $14 million to the department.
Frozi, however, told TOLOnews on Tuesday that he had paid $17 million to the government along with properties “worth millions.”
Habib called the recovery of Kabul Bank funds a “complicated process” and time-consuming.
“He (Frozi) has not paid cash since his release from prison. From his seven properties in total, three of them are worth $8. 9 million and the four remaining properties are under review by the recovery department,” Habib added.
Talking to TOLOnews on Tuesday, Frozi said: “We have paid a portion of the money--$17 million. We have handed over the Dosti township that was our property and the government has sold it for Afs600 million ($7.8 million),” Frozi said, adding that he has also given to the government properties such as “16 jeribs (7.9 acres) of land on the Airport Road, 7 jeribs (3.4 acres) of land in Makrorayan area (in Kabul), 50 jeribs (24.7 acres) of land in Karte Naw (area in Kabul), and two jeribs (0.9 acres) of land near Poland's embassy.”
“The issue was political, the issue was the big controversy of the former president Karzai and the US embassy. It was a consequence of the intervention of former US ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Kabul Bank paid the price for pressure that the US put on Karzai and Kabul,” added Frozi.
The court recognized Sher Khan Farnood, the founder and chairman, and Khalilullah Frozi, as well as a number of other individuals and companies, as owing back large sums to Kabul Bank, but Farnood died in prison two years ago.
“The basis of the process was wrong. The former head of the Central Bank, Mr. Abdul Qadir Fitrat, has done wrong and has acted in contravention of the law. We are not saying that nothing was done in Kabul Bank, but it could be solved in simpler ways. But they [Kabul Bank Recovery Department] still has not been able to collect the debts,” said Sulaiman Toofan.
Kabul Bank, the largest private bank in Afghanistan, was established in 2004 by Sherkhan Farnood; But after it went bankrupt, the government took over the bank in 2010. Watchdogs have criticized the government for failing to recoup the bank's stolen assets after nine years.