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Rs1.5b fraud: Senate panel briefed on case

ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Thursday decided to expand the scope of its parliamentary investigations into the Rs1.5-billion fraud by an employee of National Bank of Pakistan.

A syndicate siphoned off Rs1.54 billion, said Syed Iqbal Ashraf, the NBP president, in a testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue. The Standing Committee took up the case of Rs1.5 billion fraud in Abandoned Properties Organization, which is also a government organisation. The Express Tribune had last month reported the fraud.

According to the report, the Federal Investigation Agency had arrested an Assistant Vice President of NBP, Sadaf Siddiqui, and four employees of APO for fraudulently withdrawing Rs1.5 billion from APO accounts. The NBP president said that the bank has terminated Sadaf Siddiqui.

“The fraud involved several people in the syndicate and was comprised of four APO officials, a junior executive of the NBP and other individuals,” the bank informed the standing committee.

Sadaf Siddiqui facilitated the syndicate by submitting spurious and unauthorised confirmations by fax to the APO office, according to the written reply the NBP submitted in the standing committee.

The NBP president said that according to the bank’s internal investigations, the syndicate remitted Rs1.54 billion in 24 transactions between April 2014 and October 2016 from NBP. “We understand funds have been siphoned off in full,” admitted the NBP before the standing committee.

The alleged culprits withdrew APO investments made through NBP and deposited the money into accounts by some individuals in the name of APO Builders, the NBP president said while citing an FIA investigation.

He said that the NBP did not sustain a loss in this case and it would be wrong to say that the fraud was committed in NBP.

The NBP president said that the NBP acted upon genuine instructions of the APO. He said that NBP should not be blamed for this negligence.

Ashraf said that during 2014, 2015 and 2016, the APO gave authorised instructions to the NBP to remit funds to accounts and the bank only acted on the client’s instructions.

It was a master plan, said Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance after knowing how the syndicate executed the plan.

“You cannot say that your bank is not responsible when a staff member has admitted that she was involved in the fraud,” said Mandviwalla to Ashraf.

Courtesy : Express Tribune

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