The primary court of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) on Saturday sentenced three members of the upper house to 10 years and one month in prison each over taking $40,000 in bribe.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Attorney General’s Office (AGO) officials on December 14, 2020 had reported arresting the three senators in connection with taking bribe in Hairatan port of northern Balkh Province.
On December 21, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that Mohammad AzimQoyash, elected member of the Upper House, Mohammad Anwar Bashliq and LiaqatullahBabakarkhil, selective members of the house, were bailed out.
The ACJC primary court conducted a public hearing in the case on Saturday but none of the accused was present in the session but Farid Ahmad Arabzai, their defense lawyer was present.
Mohammad Payinda Adili, the prosecutor in-charge, said the accused had been caught red-handed with $40,000 and added that the accused had initially demanded $60,000.
Adili said not only the accused were caught with marked banknotes but their voice and video recordings proved their crime.
The defense lawyer, Farid Ahmad Arabzai, called the arrest of his clients as a conspiracy against them and said since his clients did not succumb to pressures, threats and financial offers, a conspiracy was hatched against them.
Arabzai added that some powerful individuals in Balkh had threatened the accused to not audit the Hairatan port or else they would be arrested by NDS personnel. He claimed that it was a political conspiracy planned for a long time.
“All three of my clients, during the investigations, have denied the accusation,” Arabzai added.
But the jury in-charge of the ACJC Primary Court convicted the accused after hearing arguments from the prosecutor and the defense lawyer.
Judge Shir Mohammad, chief of the court, said the jury convicts the accused Liaqat Shah Babakarkhil, Mohammad AzimQoyash and Mohammad Anwar of taking $40,000 as bribe and sentences them to ten years and one month in prison according to the Articles of the law.
He said the accused had been sentenced according to clause two of article 370, clause six of article 370 and article 385 of the penal code.
Shir Mohammad added that the verdict was not final and both sides could move a higher court.