Islamabad (October 4, 2017): The authorities of government watchdog on corruption National Accountability Bureau briefed the members of the Senate Standing Committee for Finance over the Rs 18.5 billion fraud at the Bangladesh branch of the state-owned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).
The NAB officials told the Senate Committee that since the loans were issued by the NBP in Bangladesh those involved in the mega fraud would be punished repatriation of the massive embezzled funds is hard if not impossible.
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It may be mentioned here that on the 23rd of the last month an accountability court in Karachi had sent former President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Syed Ali Raza and other accused to jail on judicial remand in the said case.NAB had produced the accused in accountability court on September 23 which sent the accused to jail on judicial remand till October 4, 2017. The court also sought progress reports from NAB in the case.
Raza and 16 others, including seven Bangladeshi nationals, are facing inquiry over alleged misappropriation of Rs18 billion between 2003 and 2012 at the NBP branch in Dhaka.The four arrested co-accused are Muhammad Wasim Khan, Imran Ghani, Dr Mirza Abrar Baig and Muhammad Imran Butt.
In April this year, Raza had approached the court, apprehending his arrest by the graft-buster. Granting him interim bail against a surety of Rs500,000 on April 3, the court had also issued notices to the NAB prosecutor-general to file a reply.In his bail plea, the petitioner had argued that the inquiry was related to two bank employees, Zubair Ahmed and SM Jahanzeb, who were involved in illegal activities overseas, which caused losses worth Rs17 billion to the national exchequer.Denying any role in the scam, Raza had contended that being the president of the bank, he was dependent on the group chiefs, who were supposed to check any irregularity on the part of the bank’s 16,000 employees.Raza said the NAB investigation officer had, on August 21, 2015, issued him a call-up notice to appear for investigation despite the fact that he had left the bank on January 14, 2011.During the course of hearings, the NAB prosecutor had argued that the governor of State Bank of Pakistan had also complained about massive embezzlement and corruption in the Bangladesh branch of the state-owned bank. Besides Raza, Bangladeshi nationals and others were also nominated in the case.
The prosecutor alleged that enough incriminating evidence was available on record to establish the role of the petitioner, Raza, and the co-accused in the scam. Therefore, he had pleaded to the court to dismiss their bail applications and revoke the interim pre-arrest bail granted to the accused.According to background details of the case, the NAB had filed a reference with the concerned accountability court, nominating the former NBP chief and other suspects in the scam. It was alleged that the accused, including Raza, had misused their authority to grant and revise financing facilities at the NBP’s Bangladesh branch that caused a loss of $185 million to the national exchequer.
A day earlier of September 22 NAB had arrested Syed Ali Raza along with four co-accused after Sindh High Court (SHC) had cancelled their interim bail.