US Aid to Afghanistan for Condos In Dubai? Why The Obama Administration Doesn’t Seem To Care

By Big Peace | by Rachel Ehrenfeld, ACD Director
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 @ 2:59AM

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In his State of the Union speech last night, the President stated: “The Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them.”

It is not a secret that President Karzai’s government is rife with corruption.  It is misappropriating and siphoning off as many billions dollars from foreign aid, as they can. This lawlessness  deepens the political and economic instability that enables the Taliban and other insurgencies to prosper.

Sources close to the investigation of the “fraud” at Afghanistan’s largest bank,Kabul Bank, following the discoveries of fraud and suspicious loans to its shareholders, including the President brother Mahmoud Karzai, and Haseen Fahim, the brother of the first vice president, Gen. Muhammad Qasim Fahim. The IMF estimates the loss at $850 Million. However, knowledgeable independent sources who wish to remain nameless, say the loss is more than one billion dollar.

How could this happen?  The Chairman of Kabul Bank is alleged to have bought 20 Condos in Dubai, on the Palm Jumeirah Island, for an average price of  $7 million per Condo. He bought them in his personal name with depositors’ money. Now he says that he bought them for the “benefit of ‘certain’ people who want to remain anonymous.” But it has been discovered that several Cabinet members have family members living in them, including Mahmoud Karzi, the president’s brother. This is but one example.

Incredibly, most of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Treasury programs and projects do not include any consideration for the criminogenic environments create by pouring huge funding into Finance, Health and Infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, with little or no oversight.

The U.S. Bank supervision assistance to the Central Bank does NOT include in any part of the syllabus fraud mechanisms or fraud detection. Reason: “we don’t want to offend the counterparts by including Criminal conduct prevention measures,” according to an AID officer.

It is time the Obama Administration talks less about “good governance,” and stops the corrupting relationship with the Afghan government. It is time to stop the politically correct attitude that allows the disappearance of billions of dollars aimed at improving the Afghan’s people’s condition. And its time to take serious actions to prevent the massive fraud perpetrated by the Afghans, and often in partnership with members of international aid agencies and foreign contractors alike.

Although the President did not mention it, fighting and corruption in Afghanistan will continue unless the U.S. takes serious steps using environmentally safe new methods to eradicate Afghan opium poppy and Hashish cultivation and heroin production.

Only when these vast illegal income sources that generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues are eliminated, the Afghan people could benefit from a stable government that would help build a stable economy. Until then, expect more of the same.

Categories: Anti-Corruption, U.S. Policy

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