NAB says NBP concealed reports from Bangladesh
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.