| ||Zakhilwal raps Lodin, wants AG to probe assets|
By Maiwand Fida
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KABUL - Finance Minister Dr. Zakhilwal on Tuesday promised dispatching a list of his assets to the attorney general for a transparent investigation into allegations of corruption against him.
The minister, who was blamed for transferring huge amounts of money abroad, accused a private TV channel and Afghanistan's High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption chief, Dr. Azizullah Lodin, of hatching conspiracies against him.
On Thursday, after the TV channel reported that Zakhilwal had stashed away more than id="mce_marker" million in overseas banks, Lodin said the minister's business matters would be probed.
He transferred the money to accounts in Canada over the past five years, the Tolo TV channel charged, despite denials of any wrongdoing by the minister, who called his earning the result of legitimate work.
At a news conference in Kabul, Zakhilwal took great pains to establish the bank transfers involved no corruption. Before being appointed as finance minister, he said he earned up to $20,000 a month, working for government entities and NGOs.
Zakhilwal said another source of his income had been contributing articles to local and international media organisations, as well as authoring books on variegated subjects.
He blamed Lodin for misusing his authority, disclosing his assets unlawfully and levelling false accusations against him. “He developed differences with me after the finance ministry rejected his demand for a pay raise.”
Promising to send a list of his assets to the attorney general, the minister refused to pass the dossier to Lodin, who has requested President Hamid Karzai for Zakhilwal’s suspension pending completion of an investigation.