Afghanistan investigates cabinet nominee wanted by Interpol

2015-01-18 16:22


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Kabul - Afghan authorities have launched an investigation into a minister-designate wanted by Interpol for tax evasion in Estonia, a presidential official said on Sunday.

Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, nominated to be minister of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, has been wanted by Estonia since 2003 for "large-scale tax evasion", according to Interpol.

"We have started our investigation. If the accusation is substantiated, he will be removed from the list of cabinet nominees," presidential spokesperson Nazifullah Salarzai said.

"We did not look into personal matters, but we will not tolerate any corruption," Salarzai said.

Haidari, 52, was one of 27 officials nominated last week in the first cabinet of President Ashraf Ghani, 106 days after his inauguration.

During the election, Ghani vowed to root out widespread corruption in government institutions. Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.

Haidari confirmed to Tolonews television in Kabul that he was on the Interpol wanted list, but maintained his innocence.

He called the Interpol notice "a political conspiracy by my enemies".

According to him, the taxes were owed by a person who bought his company that ran an agricultural import-export business in Eastern Europe and Russia.

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