Pros­e­cu­tor prob­ing Afghan cor­rup­tion wasn’t fired: of­fi­cial

The Pak Banker - - International -

KABUL: Afghanistan's at­tor­ney gen­eral de­nied that a pros­e­cu­tor in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in the up­per reaches of the govern­ment had been fired, say­ing the of­fi­cial sim­ply had reached the point when re­tire­ment was manda­tory.

Atty. Gen. Mo­ham­mad Ishaq Aloko said dur­ing an in­ter­view in his Kabul of­fice that pros­e­cu­tor Fazel Ahmed Faqir­yar stopped work­ing Thurs­day in ac­cor­dance with Afghan law af­ter 40 years of ser­vice. The rules state that of­fi­cials must step down if they are older than 65 or have served for four decades, he said.

The pros­e­cu­tor was not forced out be­cause of any con­flict with Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai, Aloko said. Faqir­yar's claim Satur­day that he had been fired "is ab­so­lutely ground­less," he said. "He wants to be ad­mired by the pub­lic and the me­dia. His re­tire­ment has no re­la­tion with cor­rup­tion."

Faqir­yar's exit from his post comes amid grow­ing con­cern in Washington that bil­lions in U.S. tax­payer money have been pock­eted by Karzai's in­ner cir­cle. At the same time, some U.S. of­fi­cials fear that push­ing the shaky govern­ment too hard on cor­rup­tion could un­der­mine the wider war ef­fort.

A se­nior State Depart­ment of­fi­cial said Sun­day that the facts of the pros­e­cu­tor's case seemed un­clear and that he was un­aware whether any­one in the ad­min­is­tra­tion was rais­ing the is­sue with the Karzai gov­ern- ment. "We are watch­ing this very closely," he said.

An­other U.S. of­fi­cial said an open fight with Karzai prob­a­bly would make him more in­tran­si­gent and com­pli­cate re­la­tions ahead of par­lia­men­tary elec­tions and ma­jor mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions sched­uled for the com­ing weeks. "It's not worth the po­ten­tial trou­ble over one pros­e­cu­tor where the facts aren't en­tirely clear," the of­fi­cial said.

Both of­fi­cials re­quested anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

In an in­ter­view Sun­day in his mod­est Kabul apart­ment, Faqir­yar dis­puted Aloko's ac­count, say­ing he was au­tho­rized to work past 65. Like many Afghans, he doesn't know his ex­act birth­day but says he's about 72. He also said he had worked only 39 years and five months, not count­ing school­ing and five years un­der Tal­iban rule when he was off the govern­ment clock.

The pros­e­cu­tor, who was also deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral, said his re­la­tions with the Karzai ad­min­is­tra­tion turned sour last year when he briefed a closed-door ses­sion of par­lia­ment re­gard­ing about 25 cor­rup­tion cases the at­tor­ney gen­eral's of­fice was work­ing on, nam­ing gov­er­nors, min­is­ters and am­bas­sadors who were tar­gets of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral quickly expressed his un­hap­pi­ness with the move, Faqir­yar said, "so from that time, our re­la­tions went bad." -PB News

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