Lawyers speaking to TOLOnews on Monday were critical the transfer of Afs15 billion ($194 million) from the state-owned Central Bank to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), which was authorized with signatures from both the second vice president and the Supreme Court chief. The lawyers said it is in contravention of the country’s laws and that such a transfer requires the Afghan parliament’s approval before it is sent to any other government institution.
The transfer of money through such a mechanism “surprised” the government’s high-ranking officials, said Gul Rahman Qazi, the former head of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the implementation of the Constitution.
“Which law gives the right to them (government officials) to sign this paper?” Qazi asked.T
But the issue has caused outrage among some MPs who said the transfer should have been approved by the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of the Afghan parliament (Read story here).
“Some days ago, they took money from the Central Bank, 15 billion Afghanis,” MP Zal Mohammed Zalmay said. “This is neither within president’s authority nor does it belong to the Supreme Court chief or others. This is the authority of the parliament.”
Critics say that withdrawing this amount of money from the state bank will affect the Central Bank’s standing among international financial institutions.
“The Central Bank and other relevant organizations should prevent this and a monitoring committee should be assigned to probe the matter,” university lecturer Romal Atal said.
The Ministry of Finance rejected the allegations.
“The accusation that the Finance Ministry does not have authorization to make the transfer is completely wrong and we are not accepting it,” said Finance Ministry spokesman Shamroz Khan Masjidi.
Sources have told TOLOnews that the transfer of the amount to the Finance Ministry was discussed at a meeting by acting Finance Minister Mohammad Homayoun Qayoumi at the Presidential Palace and that the acting head of the Central Bank Wahidullah Nawshir had asked the president to issue a decree to solve the matter.
However, the sources said, the president did not accept the suggestion and asked the Supreme Court chief and the second vice president to write their views about the legitimacy of this transfer through a non-official letter.
The Central Bank once again refused to comment on this report.