KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's mining minister allegedly accepted a $30 million bribe to award a major contract to a Chinese company, an unnamed U.S. official says.
The official, who reportedly has seen intelligence reports on the matter, said there is a "high degree of certainty" the alleged payment to Mohammad Ibrahim Adel was made within a month of the awarding of a $2.9 billion copper mining contract to the state-run China Metallurgical Group Corp., The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The same minister is now in the process of reviewing a bid from the Chinese company for another big iron ore mining contract for a deposit west of Kabul known as Haji Gak, the Post reported.
"This guy has done this already; we're in the same situation again," the official said.
Adel denied the allegations, telling the Post, "I am responsible for the revenue and benefit of our people. All the time I'm following the law and the legislation for the benefit of the people."
The allegations involving Adel and other instances of corruption are focusing international pressure on President Hamid Karzai to cleanse his Cabinet of ministers who have collected huge profits through bribery and kickbacks, the Post said.