KABUL, Afghanistan, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Afghan police working with American agents arrested an Afghan man on charges of stealing more than a half million dollars from an agricultural development fund supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The money was insured, and there was no actual loss of U.S. taxpayer funds.
Afghan National Police made the arrest on April 2 in the northern city Mazar-e-Sharif, along with agents from the USAID Office of Inspector General (OIG). The arrest followed a long-running joint investigation by Afghan law enforcement agencies, USAID OIG and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
"This arrest demonstrates effective partnership between U.S. and Afghan authorities can help ensure those who seek to divert assistance from the Afghan people are held to account," USAID Acting Inspector General Michael Carroll said.
The suspect in custody is Abdul Khalil Qadery, a former employee of Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), an international company based in Bethesda, Maryland. DAI is implementing the USAID Agricultural Credit Enhancement project and has fully cooperated with the investigation.
Qadery allegedly embezzled funds sent to the USAID-supported Agricultural Development Fund (ADF), by making a wire transfer equivalent to $539,000 to an Afghanistan International Bank account set up under a fictitious name. He is in police detention in Kabul and faces a maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment and fines. Qadery's alleged embezzlement would also violate U.S. law, and subject him to potential prosecution by law enforcement authorities in the United States.
USAID established the $100 million ADF program in 2010 to help Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) support small farmers with loans or grants. These farmers repay the loans after harvest.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 50 years.