US officials slam Karzai aides over derailing corruption cases

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Washington, June 28 (ANI): US officials have slammed top officials of the Afghanistan Government for often blocking corruption investigations of well-connected Afghans.

According to The Washington Post, U.S. officials, who have provided Afghanistan authorities with wiretapping technology and other assistance in efforts to crack down on endemic graft, blamed the Afghan prosecutors and investigators of having ordered to cross names off case files and prevent senior officials from arrest.

They also said that these investigators disregarded evidence against executives of a major financial firm suspected of helping the nation's elite move millions of dollars overseas.

"Above a certain level, people are being very well protected," the paper quoted a senior U.S. official involved in the investigations, as saying.

The US officials pointed out multiple instances, including the most prominent example of Afghanistan's former minister of Islamic affairs, who fled the country this year as prosecutors were preparing to charge him with extorting millions of dollars from companies seeking contracts to take pilgrims to the hajj.

Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omar denied investigations had been derailed.

"There is no case, no instance, in which the palace or anyone from the palace has interfered with a case," he said.

Afghanistan's attorney general, Mohammed Ishaq Aloko, was seen as a potential ally against corruption when he took the job two years ago, but U.S. officials blamed him of repeatedly impeding prosecutions of suspects with political ties, the paper reported.

In meetings with U.S. Justice Department officials, Aloko has seemed almost apologetic and acknowledged coming under pressure from Karzai as well as members of parliament, it added.

"I'm doing this because that is what the president tells me I have to do," Aloko said.

Aloko has announced that his office is investigating five current and former ministers, including Mohammad Ibrahim Adel, the mines minister, who has been accused by U.S. officials of taking a 30 million dollars bribe from a Chinese firm.

Although Adel stepped down, neither he nor any other minister other than Mohammad Siddiq Chakari has been charged. (ANI)

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