Border police in Shighnan district of northern Badakhshan province on Monday confirmed that three dismissed officials from the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs accused of corruption were arrested while trying to flee the country.
Those arrested include: Mohammad Amin Qane, the former head of the apartments and rentals department, Ahmad Nawaz Bakhtyari, the former head of the housing enterprise department, and Mohammad Amin, the former head of the real estate and accommodations department.
According to local police, the three individuals were attempting to escape Afghanistan and seek refuge in Tajikistan. "The three guys intended to flee to Tajikistan, but police arrested them and now we await directions from our police officials," Shighnan Port commissioner Rajab Mohammad Omari said on Monday.
The three fugitive officials are part of a larger case launched by the Attorney General's office targeting six individuals for supposedly embezzling millions of dollars worth of public funds.
"From among six officials of the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs, three of them were on the run and this morning they were arrested in a joint effort of the Attorney General's office and the security forces, but the remaining three were already prepared for the investigation," Attorney General spokesman Basir Aziz said.
Aziz emphasized that the investigation and prosecution of the corrupt officials would be transparent and fair. "The Attorney General of Afghanistan assures the people of Afghanistan that we will move forward with the case without any kind of pressure and influence as millions of dollars have been embezzled," he said.
Already, some have compared the case to President Ashraf Ghani's prosecution of the Kabul Bank case in late 2014. "We hope that the case is not politicized like the Kabul Bank case and that those involved will be brought to justice," MP Farhad Sediqqi said.
Ghani met with officials from the urban development ministry on May 28, which is when he issued the suspensions and announced an investigation into the corruption charges. In addition to the three former officials arrested at the border on Monday, Ghani suspended Ahmad Shah Hemat, the former head of the central housing department; Gul Rahim Zyarmal, the former head of planning and the project manager for the 5th Macrorayan; and Syed Amanullah Sadat, the head of the finance department.