Kabul mayor steps down after graft conviction

A municipality official said Mayor Abdul Ahad Sayebi had given up his post and was replaced on Sunday by a caretaker.

Kabul mayor steps down after graft conviction

The mayor of Kabul, convicted of corruption last week in the biggest case since President Hamid Karzai ordered a crackdown, relinquished his post on Sunday after days of defying prosecutors by continuing to go to work.

A municipality official said Mayor Abdul Ahad Sayebi had given up his post and was replaced on Sunday by a caretaker.

The mayor was sentenced to four years in jail last week, but remained free on bail pending an appeal and continued to show up at work, defying prosecutors who said his conviction automatically meant he should be fired.

Sayebi was convicted of corruptly extending the lease of a market without a competitive bid. He says the charges were politically motivated and aimed at removing him from office.

One of his deputies, Wahabuddin Sadat, was taken into custody at Kabul airport on Saturday, said Fazel Ahmad Faqiryar, a deputy attorney general.

"Like the mayor, he (Sadat) was also responsible for the contract of the market and he was arrested at Kabul airport on arrival," Faqiryar told Reuters of the deputy mayor.

Faqiryar said the Attorney General's office had secured guarrantees from the mayor's office that Sayebi would no longer come to the municipality as its chief or use its facilities.

The mayor was the first high-profile Afghan politician to be convicted for years. Last month Karzai set up a new anti-corruption task force days before his own inauguration.

The attorney general's office says it is investigating two serving members of Karzai's cabinet and several former ministers on suspicion of corruption.



Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Aralık 2009, 12:40
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