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Central & South Asia
Kabul's deputy-mayor arrested
Afghanistan police take second official into custody amid crackdown on corruption.
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2009 06:37 GMT

The deputy mayor of Kabul has been arrested for allegedly misusing his authority.

Wahibuddin Sadat was taken into custody at Kabul airport on Saturday as he was returning from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, according to Fazel Ahmad Faqiryar, the deputy attorney general, who gave no further details.

Afghanistan's government has come under increasing pressure to crack down on corruption in the wake of the country's fraud-tainted elections.

Analysts say public outrage over corruption and bad governance is fuelling support for the Taliban, who were ousted from power in the US-led invasion of 2001.

Corruption crackdown

Sadat's arrest comes five days after an Afghan court convicted his boss, Abdul Ahad Sahebi, Kabul's mayor, of awarding a contract without competition and sentenced him to four years in jail.

He was also ordered to repay more than $16,000 involved in the contract.

Sehebi, who has appealed the conviction, is refusing government orders to give up his post and claims he is being targeted as part of a political vendetta.

The government departments involved in the case have so far failed to agree on who should enforce the court's ruling.

Neither the courts nor the police say they have the ability to seize Sehebi and send him to jail and he is still receiving police protection at city hall.

The mayor was the first high-profile Afghan politician to be convicted since a task force was ordered by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, to target government officials suspected of criminal activity.

The solicitor general's office is also looking into claims that Sehebi failed to account for millions of US dollars that were meant to pay for reconstruction projects.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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