Iran’s Parliament has voted down the motion to impeach the Minister of Finance and Treasury over the recent $3-billion bank fraud.
On Tuesday, Parliament convened to examine the proposal to impeach Minister Shamseddin Hosseiny. He attended the session together with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vice President Mohammadreza Rahimi.
A number of MPs accused the minister of failing to detect and prevent the bank fraud. The impeachment motion was based on “the failure to execute appropriate regulations regarding banks and financial institutions, the appointment of unqualified individuals to vital positions, the failure to oversee bank operations despite warnings from supervisory committees.”
Last month the media broke the news of a $3-billion bank fraud carried out over four years, as a company sold false letters of credit to eight major banks including the Bank of Saderat and Melli Bank.
Karaj MP Aziz Akbarian criticized the finance minister for allowing the head of Melli Bank, Mahmoudreza Khavari, to leave the country after the fraud was uncovered. Akbarian said: “One Khavari is enough to make the cabinet resign.”
Hosseiny responded, saying: “I did not resign from my post because this $3-billion fraud happened during my tenure and I have make up for it.”
He insisted that he was in no way involved in Khavari’s exit from the country said he’d been unaware of Khavari’s dual citizenship. Khavari fled Iran one day after resigning from the helm of Melli Bank and is now settled in Canada, were he holds citizenship.
Ahmadinejad defended his minister and called him competent, adding that ongoing financial projects undertaken by the administration depend on Hosseiny’s continued efforts.
Ahmadinejad also cited rising international sanctions to show the Islamic Republic is faced with unprecedented pressure, which makes the finance ministry’s role even more vital.
Ahmadinejad reminded Parliament that investigations have cleared all members of his cabinet from any involvement in the bank fraud. He insisted that the judiciary should swiftly bring to justice anyone involved in the affair.
The head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, declared the MPs’ concerns to be valid but he said impeachment of the minister was going too far.
Adding that disputes between the administration and Parliament are against national interests, he urged MPs to forgo the impeachment motion.