Confrontation between House of Representatives and Central Bank ends; banknotes not to carry Ajmal Ahmadi’s signature

Some members of the House of Representatives expressed concern about the publication of new banknotes signed by Ajmal Ahmadi. According to these members of parliament, as Ajmal Ahmadi had been disqualified by the people’s representatives, his actions lacked any legal authority. According to these representatives, if new banknotes were printed with the signature of Ajmal Ahmadi, their value and credibility would be damaged. Following that, other members of the House of Representatives reported that the Central Bank put an end to these concerns in a written letter assuring them that the new banknotes would not be printed with Mr. Ahmadi’s signature. The Central Bank also issued a statement saying that some of the new banknotes had been printed and others would be printed next year. The Central Bank denied media reports about Ajmal Ahmadi’s signature on the banknotes, stating that the banknotes carried the signature of Wahidullah Nawshir, the former head of the Central Bank.

Recently, some media outlets reported that the Central Bank was set to publish new banknotes signed by Ajmal Ahmadi, the bank’s current head. The news was met with sharp reactions from the House of Representatives. Some members of the House of Representatives called the printing of new banknotes signed by Mr. Ahmadi illegal and called on the government to stop the production of these banknotes. Nasim Modaber, a member of the House of Representatives, questioned how the new banknotes could be published with the signature of Ajmal Ahmadi, after his ouster. He added that in the near future a “team lacking authority” would travel to Europe and sign the currency. He stated that “the signature of the head of the Central Bank has no legitimacy, and he is an irresponsible person who has also removed two deputies. The bank is in a state of disarray.”

Also referring to the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Modaber and said that since the President had also disqualified the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry no longer had any legitimacy and the process of printing new banknotes should be stopped. Finance Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal was ousted by the Presidential Palace on January 25. The reason for Mr. Arghandiwal’s dismissal was the delay in collecting revenues, lack of cooperation with the Joint Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Regulations in the Ministry of Finance and the obstruction of such investigations, weak management, lack of commitment to governance values, and non-compliance with Article 77 of the Constitution. He had disobeyed the rulings and instructions of the presidential office.

Abdul Zahir Salangi, a representative of the people of Parwan in the House of Representatives, also said that the head of the Central Bank had been disqualified by the parliament and now had no legal authority. He said the government had not issued a new order allowing him to continue working at the bank. Salangi noted that when Mr. Ahmadi came to the parliament for a vote of confidence and the parliament did not vote for him, the president’s previous decree was revoked. “In terms of governance and the spirit of the constitution, he is neither the head of the Central Bank nor the chairperson of the Central Bank,” he said. “Any action he takes is against the spirit of the constitution and good governance.”

He went on to say that official documents and administrative letters must be signed by a person with competence and authority. According to him, Mr. Ahmadi had no legitimacy to sign new banknotes because he had been disqualified and thus divested of legal authority. He warned that if the new banknotes, signed by Ahmadi, were issued, they would harm the value of the Afghan currency in the national and international markets.

Meanwhile, some other members of the House of Representatives said that in a letter, the Central Bank rejected the claim of Ajmal Ahmadi’s signature appearing on the new banknotes. Sayed Azim Kobarzani, secretary of the parliament’s Finance and Budget Commission, said a delegation was to travel to Europe to sign the new banknotes, and the commission wrote a letter of concern to members of parliament with the Central Bank. He said the Central Bank had addressed the parliament’s concerns in a written response. According to him, in this letter, the Central Bank assured that the delegation’s trip to Europe has been canceled and that Ajmal Ahmadi’s signature was not on the new banknotes. Kobarzani clarified that instead of Ahmadi’s signature, the signature of Wahidullah Nawshir, the former head of the bank, was included on the banknotes.

The Central Bank further put an end to the parliament’s concerns by issuing a statement reporting that new banknotes had been issued and the rest were due to be issued next year. However, the bank did not specify how much money was to be printed. In the statement, the bank denied media reports that Ajmal Ahmadi had signed the new banknotes, saying that this was not the case. The Central Bank stated that instead of Mr. Ahmadi, the banknotes would carry the signature of the former head of the bank, Wahidullah Nawshir. The Central Bank asked the media not to spread rumors and confuse public opinion.

Ajmal Ahmadi previously failed to win a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives. Although parliament has repeatedly stressed that the replacement candidate should be sent to parliament as soon as possible, this has not been done yet.