Ali Raza, other NBP officials sent to prison on judicial remand

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Former President National Bank of Pakistan, Ali Raza and four of his other accomplices in Rs18billion plunder, were sent to central prison of the city on four-day judicial here on Saturday.

The accused were presented in accountability court, which after hearing arguments of the NAB’s prosecutor, sent all five accused to jail on judicial remand and adorned the hearing till October 4.

Raza, was arrested after Sindh High Court rejected his interim bail in Rs18 billion scam here a day earlier. On the outset of proceedings, the national accountability bureau’s prosecutor submitted that when this plunder was made Ali Raza was not only President of the national bank but also chairman board of directors and chairman Audit Company and chairman of the human resource department at same time.

He further submitted that the corruption was disclosed in audit report of the NBP in 2009 whereas State Bank of Pakistan has also complained of corruption.

“Ali Raza is accused of Rs18 billion misappropriation and corruption in national Bank Bangladesh Branch whereas Imran Butt, Waseem, Ibrar Baig and Imran besides Bangladeshi staff of the bank is also involved in the corruption with former president of the bank, “ he submitted

The court ordered the arrest of Raza and the six others in the case. However, it upheld the pre-arrest bails of two other co-accused Qamar Hussain and Kausar Malik.

Raza was shifted to an undisclosed location and will be presented before NAB court on Saturday.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference against the former NBP chief and other officials for allegedly misusing their authority by granting and revising financing facilities in the NBP Bangladesh branch that caused a loss of $185 million to the national exchequer.

According to NAB, the Bangladesh branch of NBP lent $185 million without securing collaterals to dubious companies between 2003 and 2012.

In February 2015, the NA standing committee, headed by Omar Ayub Khan of the PML-N, referred the matter to NAB for further probe. The current chairman of the committee, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, also kept the issue alive.

According to reports, the NAB investigation will be the sixth such probe, as NBP has completed four inquiries while one was conducted by the chartered accountant firm KPMG. In its forensic audit, KPMG found that “61 delinquent employees” were prima facie involved in the scam. Many of them were directly responsible and some were responsible due to their administrative positions.