A book detailing the key factors in the collapse of Kabul Bank was released in Afghanistan on Thursday, and the event triggered fresh criticism against the Afghan government for failing to recover the millions of dollars stolen from such a major financial institution.
The book, titled “The Tragedy of Kabul Bank,” was written by Abdul Qadeer Fetrat, an officer at the bank at the time of the collapse, who is considered by some to be a main suspect.
Kabul Bank, once the country's largest financial institution collapsed in 2010 amid a large scandal.
The former chairman of Kabul Bank, Sherkhan Farnood, and CEO Khalilullah Frozi were sacked from their positions and charged with embezzling more than $900 million in cash and assets.
Frozi and Farnood were each sentenced to 15 years in prison after they were found guilty.
Kabul Bank is now run by the government.
Abdul Qadeer Fetrat quit working at Kabul Bank in June 2011 following the scandal, claiming that he was under threat for investigating fraud at the still privately-owned bank.
Fetrat claimed the government had interfered in his earlier efforts to pursue those responsible for corruption at the bank, which nearly collapsed in 2010 after evidence of large-scale embezzlement began to emerge.
The government dismissed his claims, responding that Fetrat himself was under investigation for fraud.
Fetrat alleges that the Afghan government did not assist him in the investigation or provide any help in recovering the bank's assets.
The controversial contract:
In November 2015, the government launched the 'Smart City Township' Project in which Khalilullah Frozi was a part.
Government officials said the aim of the program was to help the debtors of Kabul Bank repay their debt instead of being imprisoned.
The move, however, sparked an outcry.
In February 2016, President Ashraf Ghani cancelled the contract of the Smart City Township.
Sherkhan Farnood was the chairman of Kabul Bank until late 2010, which at the time was Afghanistan's largest private financial institution with over one million customers.
Farnood held a 28.16 percent share in the pre-collapse Kabul Bank. By November 2010 both Farnood and Frozi had been suspended.
In early 2011, both were effectively under house arrest and could not leave the country.
“Bankruptcy, such as occurred at Kabul Bank, has never happened in any part of the world before--where the assets of a bank are plundered, there is a need to recover those plundered national assets,” said Shakoor Waqef Hakimi, a member of parliament.
“The Kabul Bank tragedy is an example of corruption between our monitoring organs and our legal and judicial institutions and it shows that those institutions that are supposed to fight corruption are involved in it,” said Saleh Mohammad Registani, a political commentator in Kabul.