NAB says NBP con­cealed re­ports from Bangladesh

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

The top man­age­ment at the Na­tional Bank of Pak­istan con­cealed re­ports it re­ceived from Bangladesh over the Rs18.5 bil­lion scam, said an of­fi­cial of the Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bureau today amid a push from a par­lia­men­tary panel to move quicker against the ex­ec­u­tives. While brief­ing the Na­tional Assem­bly Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Finance on the Rs18.5 bil­lion scam in NBP Bangladesh op­er­a­tions, Ab­dul Hafeez Khan, di­rec­tor op­er­a­tions of NAB head­quar­ters, said the fraud was not pos­si­ble with­out in­volve­ment of NBP of­fi­cials posted in the head of­fice.

NBP Bangladesh branch: NAB takes Rs18b bank scam into de­ci­sive phase

He said that from 2001 to 2013, the NBP Bangladesh branch gave loans valu­ing $185 mil­lion with­out se­cur­ing col­lat­er­als and, in cer­tain cases, the branch re­leased se­cu­ri­ties with­out re­cov­er­ing the loans. Khan dis­closed that the NBP man­age­ment con­cealed the re­ports, which it re­ceived from Bangladesh.

The di­rec­tor op­er­a­tions said that so far the anti-cor­rup­tion watch­dog has not made any ar­rests but added that some might get ar­rested as the case pro­gresses. On Tues­day, NAB au­tho­rised in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the con­duct of some of­fi­cers of NBP who were ac­cused of abus­ing their pow­ers in the pro­cess­ing and sanc­tion­ing of credit lim­its, wil­fully avoid­ing proper val­u­a­tion of se­cu­ri­ties of­fered by bor­row­ers and caus­ing losses of $185 mil­lion to the na­tional ex­che­quer.

The di­rec­tor said that in the next few months, NAB would file a ref­er­ence in an ac­count­abil­ity court but said there were cer­tain com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing pros­e­cu­tion of six Bangladeshi na­tion­als. The dis­clo­sure has once again thrown light on the for­mer and in­cum­bent top guns of the NBP. Some of them are now head­ing three com­mer­cial banks and one is serv­ing at a top po­si­tion in the cen­tral bank. "It was a fraud at a na­tional scale but no one is ready to take ac­tion against bank ex­ec­u­tives," said vis­i­bly per­turbed Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh of PML-N, Chair­man of the NA stand­ing com­mit­tee.

Mian Ab­dul Manan of PML-N won­dered how the head of NBP risk man­age­ment divi­sion was made pres­i­dent of First Women Bank by the gov­ern­ment when she was di­rectly in­volved in this case. SBP Gover­nor Ashraf Wathra was head of credit at NBP from Oc­to­ber 2012 to March 2013. The in­cum­bent NBP pres­i­dent, Syed Iqbal Ashraf, also served at a se­nior po­si­tion for some time when the Bangladesh fraud was un­fold­ing.

In Jan­uary 2014, me­dia had first re­ported the scam. At that time, the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion was es­ti­mated at around Rs11 bil­lion, which later swelled to Rs18.5 bil­lion. In its foren­sic au­dit, KPMG found that "61 delin­quent em­ploy­ees" were prima fa­cie in­volved in the scam.

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