Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Waheed Omer says the resignation of Afghan Central Bank’s governor and his “escape” to the US amounts to treason.
Karzai’s spokesman called into question Abdul Qadeer Fitrat’s claims that his life had been in danger following a major corruption scandal at the bank and referred to him as a “runaway governor.”
Upon his arrival in Washington, where he says he will remain for good, Fitrat announced his resignation in a statement, saying disclosure of the name of some high profile figures who were connected to Kabul Bank’s embezzlement put his life at risk.
“We don’t think that’s very valid. He never actually told anyone in the government that his life was in danger,” Omer told AFP.
“This is basically an escape not a resignation… the formal procedures have not been adhered to. He’s not a governor but a runaway governor.”
Fitrat said, “My life has become completely endangered. Since I exposed the fraudulent practices on April 27 in parliament I have received information about threats on my life.”
Karzai’s spokesman, however, implicated Fitrat in the corruption scandal amounting to nearly USD 1 billion, saying the governor was himself under investigation.
The Afghan president had called for a comprehensive probe into Kabul Bank incident, which bailed out hundreds of millions of dollars of inappropriate loans in September that were partly used to buy luxury properties in Dubai. The bank was then taken over by the Central Bank last year.
Fitrat said in April that only around USD 47 million in cash of the USD 900 million had been recouped so far.
He said he had asked the government to prosecute the people involved in the corruption 10 months ago.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is to urge the public sector unions to stop the planned anti-cuts demonstration and accept the unsustainability of the pension packages.
Two days before the so-called longest and smartest strike by teachers, lecturers and civil servants, Cameron is to declare that the current arrangements are “not fair to the taxpayer.”
The coalition government is settling contingency plans in order to handle the country’s biggest strike action, with some 750,000 workers planning to stage a 24-hour protest on Thursday.
The walkout by the members of the four leading unions in the UK will continue, despite the two-hour negotiations between union leaders and ministers over the pension reforms.
Trade Union Congress (TUC) leader Brendan Barber believes the government talks have failed to close the “major gaps,” between our position and that of the government.
“The strikes will be taking place on Thursday. Four unions balloted their members and reached that decision and that reflects the degree of anger and worry and real fear there is across everyone who works for public sectors that their pensions are under threat,” Barber added.
Cameron was reported to have “prepared robust but fair message” to the unions while he is to address the Local Government Association annual conference.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), considered the government talks as a “farce,” accusing the coalition government of being uninterested to negotiate about its plans to cut pensions, increase the retirement age and raise contributions.
Mary Bousted, leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, also said, “We are disappointed, but not particularly surprised that the Government has yet again refused to give us the information we need to carry out negotiations about teachers’ and lecturers’ pensions.”
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander insisted that the meeting with the union leaders was “constructive” and expressed their disappointment with the persistence of the Thursday’s demonstration.
“We can assure the public that we have rigorous contingency plans in place to ensure that their essential services are maintained during the strike,” they said.
Greek unions and protesters are planning another 48-hour general strike against new austerity measures imposed by the debt-ridden government.
As the Greek parliament is to vote on implementing harsh austerity measures to receive further International Monetary Fund and European Union funds, unions are planning a two-day general strike beginning on Tuesday, AFP reported.
Airlines, trams, buses, banks, and administration offices are to participate in the strike by reducing their services during peak hours. Hospitals have also announced that they will have limited staff.
The strike is to take place only days after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a confidence vote in the parliament.
Greece’s newly-approved austerity plan is worth some EUR 28 billion and includes a privatization program aimed at raising EUR 50 billion and further budget cuts as well as tax increases so that the government may receive further international financial assistance.
Greece has a debt of over EUR 300 billion, which is worth more than 150 percent of its annual economic output.
Anti-government demonstrations have turned violent at times, leaving scores of protesters and security forces injured. The turmoil ranged from nationwide strikes and fruitless negotiations on the formation of a national unity government to calls from opposition parties for snap elections.