The New York Times, Letter to the Editor08/04/2012By [Printer Friendly Version]
“Afghan Finance Minister Under Scrutiny” (news article, Aug. 2) is based on the broadcast of my bank statements by an Afghan TV station. I welcome media scrutiny of public officials, even though in this case the reports are inaccurate and misleading, and are part of a larger smear campaign against me.
The bank accounts are mine, but the assets shown were accumulated before I became minister. I disclosed this information with the relevant authorities more than three years ago, when I became finance minister.
My bank statements show deposits and withdrawals over six years amounting to a little over $1 million, incorrectly portrayed as assets. The consistent balance is significantly less.
The fact that I have disclosed my accounts and that all my financial transactions have been routed through the banking system, in which large amounts are reported to financial investigators, shows I have nothing to hide.
I have been a minister only for the last three and a half years, but I have held various professional positions for more than 15 years, including well-compensated senior advisory and consulting positions. My assets are mostly from those jobs.
It is well known that throughout my career in the government I have been a strong proponent of reform and transparency in both word and deed. My firm stands on transparency and accountability have made me unpopular in some quarters, and this politically motivated misinformation campaign is one result.
HAZRAT OMAR ZAKHILWAL
Minister of Finance
Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2012