US lawyer charged with plot to steal Somali authorities funds

US lawyer charged with plot to steal Somali government funds

KABUL: The World Bank has threatened to shut down US $ 200 million in aid to Afghanistan if Kabul does not provide data on the banking sector.
The Afghan Ministry of Finance said Wednesday the World Bank had warned the country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, that it would stop providing aid if the information was not in place.
In a letter dated Nov. 23, Henry G. Kerali, the World Bank’s country director for Afghanistan, mentioned problems that “remain to be resolved” and “may affect the bank’s ability” to pay out the full $ 200 million.
Problems included the World Bank’s inability to obtain banking information from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country’s central bank.
“The letter was actually addressed to the President, and copies of it were sent to the appropriate authorities. The problem will be resolved in the coming week, ”Treasury Department spokesman Shamroz Khan Masjidi told Arab News.
“In the past, we would have shared a number of non-sensitive banking information with the World Bank. Now a misunderstanding has arisen with the central bank that did not share it with it (the World Bank) … the problem will be solved. “The World Bank office in Kabul declined to comment on whether the letter, copy of which was seen by Arab News, was a warning to Ghani. In an ambiguous statement released on Wednesday, the lender said: “No letter from the World Bank to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has been made public.” Ghani’s spokesman declined to comment.
The alleged World Bank threat rests on complaints of rising corruption after the Presidential Palace took control of public-private partnerships (PPP) from the Treasury Department in recent months through changes to the country’s PPP law.
Afghanistan depends on international aid and is one of the most corrupt countries.
The Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, the US government’s lead oversight agency for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, said in a letter on Nov. 11 that the Afghan government “often implements paper reforms like regulations or meetings, rather than concrete action to take action that would reduce corruption such as arresting powerful actors. “Even Ghani’s brother, Hashmat Ghani, spoke out against the PPP bill. “It was a mistake to remove the PPP bureau and authority from the Treasury Department. It should be reversed immediately, ”he said in a tweet on Thursday.
Torek Farhadi, a former advisor to the Afghan and International Monetary Fund, said the World Bank’s letter was “not a good signal” for Afghanistan.
“The reason the payment is suspended is because the President wants to move a number of important state-owned companies and the management of PPP to the palace, where unlike the ministry, there is no control over the parliament in the palace (Ministry of Finance)”, he told Arab News.
“This is how corruption creeps in and the international community is concerned about what is going on and the World Bank expresses it in diplomatic language in this letter.” Sediq Ahmad Usmani, a legislator on the parliamentary finance committee, said: “The executive power, particularly the presidency, has created another government of its specialty to deal with appointments and budgetary costs. All power rests with the president and without his knowledge they cannot do anything. “This was our concern and we shared it with the donors and asked them to prevent such stubborn acts,” he added.
Ghani’s main spokesman Sediq Seddiqi denied the existence of a “circle” under the president. “I am sure these MPs know the entire process and authority of government officials and the president over budget spending. Budget issues must not be politicized.
“The government sends details of the budget to Parliament in a very transparent manner and has the legal right to monitor spending. It is an open budget system, there is no circle. ”


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