Bank Islami scam: PAC asks NAB to expedite investigation into Rs19 billon corruption

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RANA MUSHTAQ

ISLAMABAD

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal to accelerate investigation into Rs19 billion corruption scam pertaining to the sale of Bank Islami to private people as the accused are still holding key positions in the State bank of the Pakistan.

PAC chairman Syed Khurshid Shah has also demanded of the chief justice of Pakistan to take sue motto notice of Bank Islami’s disposition in order to retrieve plundered money from the looters who are the most powerful people of this regime.

Shah observed while hearing the details of this scam that State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) credibility had been shattered after the sale of Bank Islami to KASB bank in 2015 when the absconder Ishaq Dar was finance minister and his crony was a governor of SBP.

PAC meeting held at parliament house here on Wednesday to discuss audit objections of finance ministry for fiscal year 2016- 2017 where huge financial irregularities were detected inviting the rage of the PAC members. The meeting was attended by MNA Ashiq Gopang,Jafar Laghari, Naveed Qamar, Raja Javed Ikhlas, Shirin Rehman , Mushahid Hussain Syed, Senators Chaudhry Tanvir and Hidyat Ullah .

PAC has now decided to write a letter to chairman NAB for completing the investigation into the alleged corruption case of Bank Islami sale and directed him to take this scam as challenge as the most powerful mafia is involved in it.

Director general audit told the committee that SBP gave loan  of Rs 15 billion to Bank Islami  at a nominal interest rate of  4.7 per cent thus causing loss  to national exchequer of Rs 444 million per annum.

During the heated arguments between SBP representative and Audit officer , it was transpired that SBP ignored the bid of MCB 100 million US dollars and sold bank Islami to KASB bank  just for one thousand rupees.

On the insistence of PAC members, SBP representative told the committee that Aleem Malik, the owner of bank Islami is from Singapore and others were from Behrin as well as some share holders were from Pakistan.

Chairman PAC quipped why governor SBP received the bid of just one thousand rupees which is humiliation to the whole bank account holders and what pressed then finance ministry to accept this historically lowest bid of Bank disposition.

During the course of the hearing of finance ministry’s financial matters, it was transpired that over Rs 162 billion were doled out to various government departments while violating the financial discipline by fiancé minister Ishaq Dar and PAC has sent the issue to Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to peruse the whole record and to submit the compliance report as earlier as possible.

Finance secretary Arif Khan told the committee that Rs 102 Billion were disbursed to BISP, Rs 3 billion to reconstruction of Afghanistan, Rs 25 billion for import of urea, Rs 2 billon to Trade development and Rs 3 billion to poverty alleviation initiatives and added that this huge amount was disbursed for the public interest san of parliament approval.

Audit officer told the committee that SBP is reluctant to provide the record of Rs 267 billion for audit but the bank representative was of the opinion that this record is pertaining to SBP inspection of other commercial banks and it contained the record of banks accounts holders which could not be provided under laws.

PAC chairman after hearing the arguments at length of the both sides decided with the consent of others members that the issue should be sent to law minister for legal opinion on this issue but AGP told the committee that other regulatory authorities including OGRA, NEPRA, PERMRA,PTA etc are legally bound to provide their record for audit.

AGP was of the opinion that we have legal powers to seek the record of all regulatory authorities for audit purposes but SBP which is also a regularity authority to regulate the banking sectors is showing unwillingness to prove its record which he termed as illegal act.

Finance secretary informed the committee that Rs 538 billion were disbursed for subsidy purpose to various government departments during fiscal years of 2016 and the record of expenditure has been given to audit department for inspection.

PAC reprimanded Joint Secretary Finance ministry Mr Zahoor Ahmad for concealing the facts from PAC and misbehaving with its members and asked PAC secretariat to write a summary to Secretary Establishment, advising him not to appoint him on an important post as he is illegible and corruption officers and deserved a punishment.

PAC secretariat was directed to write a letter to Secretary Establishment, asking him to attach PAC recommendations within his ACR file so that in future he may not get undue promotion and higher post.

PAC Chairman told the officers that they are public servants and they should behave like servant not as masters and this sense of service rules should be embedded in all public officers.

PAC also summoned AGPR for not attending the meeting of Subcommittee of PAC and directed him to explain about the reasons of this absence from the meeting otherwise punitive action will be taken against him according to the law.

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