WASHINGTON - A senior Afghan official allegedly took a $20 million bribe to steer a copper mining project to a Chinese company, a glaring example of the claims of corruption clouding the Obama administration’s deliberations over expanding the US commitment in Afghanistan.
In Washington, two US officials familiar with intelligence reports said Afghanistan’s minister of mines, Muhammad Ibrahim Adel, allegedly accepted the money soon after the $3 billion contract was awarded in late 2007 to China Metallurgical Group Corp.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. The payment to Adel was apparently made in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, said one of the US officials. Dubai, a three-hour flight from Kabul, has long been viewed as hub for illicit cash transactions, a report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.
The minister has denied having taken any bribes and said the contract went through all legal channels.
Afghanistan today will swear in President Hamid Karzai in for a second five-year term. .