By Our Special Correspondent
LAHORE: A National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) official accused of involvement in embezzlement of up to Rs3 billion was on Thursday sent on 11-day physical remand after he confessed to the charges brought against him in an accountability court.
Usman Saeed, who headed the Foreign Exchange Department of NBP at its main branch in Lahore, had been arrested by the National Accountability Court a day earlier and presented in court today.
The accused admitted his guilt in court, saying: “I realised that I had made a mistake after issuing the payment. [Other] accused kept on blackmailing me; they took money on the promise of returning it.”
He told the court that he has so far issued payments to 12 parties.
According to NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua, an initial investigation has revealed that owners of 13 business groups colluded with bank officials to defraud the national exchequer of billions of rupees.
The prosecutor alleged that the accused used to get their imported consignments released without paying for it.
The case’s investigation officer (IO) also claimed to have found evidence of embezzlement of up to Rs3bn during investigation.
“NAB Lahore is looking into the involvement of more bank officials and other companies,” the IO said, adding that the list of business groups involved and the monies siphoned off have been released.
The bureau sought a fortnight’s remand of the accused but was granted 11-day custody.
NBP Vice-President held for foreign exchange scam
Earlier report adds: Director General National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore Shahzad Saleem has issued strict orders for tightening of noose around all corrupts involved in different corruption scams. In compliance with the same, the NAB Lahore officials on Thursday arrested accused Usman Saeed, Vice-President, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Main Branch, Lahore.
According to details, the NAB Lahore has been probing into the embezzlements worth billions of rupees allegedly being committed in Foreign Exchange Department of NBP, Lahore Branch. During the investigations, involvement of accused Vice-President, Foreign Exchange Department was unearthed in which different private mega business groups were also involved in evading the Letter of Credit (LC) amounts.
Moreover, the NAB officials conducted a raid in the said branch and confiscated all the required records. The record shows involvement of 13 mega business groups and NBP officials to cause a loss of Rs 2 to 3 billion (approx) to the national kitty. The business groups known to be involved in the scam include: Crescent Jute, Ittefaq Sons, Kashmir Funds, PEL, Sargodha Jute, AZ Gard Nine, Big Feed, United Foam, Yousaf Weaving, Escorts Pakistan, Olympia Oils and Sajjad Textile, etc. Further probe is underway in the wake of proposed involvement of other Bank officials and above mentioned companies, whereas, NAB Lahore officials have taken 11 days physical remand of the accused Usman Saeed by producing him before an Accountability Court.