ISLAMABAD: The Trust Investment Bank Limited (TIBL) has agreed to return Rs698.9 million to Privatisation Commission (PC) as a result of a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the commission announced on Wednesday.
It said that an amount of Rs294.4 million had already been recovered from the TIBL in July 2013 and Asif Kamal, chairman of TIBL, has now agreed to ‘voluntarily’ return the remaining Rs404.5 million. The Executive Board of NAB approved the voluntary return in its meeting held on Monday.
In 2010, the then chairman of Privatisation Commission, Senator Waqar Ahmad, invested Rs500 million in TIBL in two tranches despite TIBL’s low credit ratings and Asif Kamal, its chairman, being a member of the PC Board.
The money had been deposited at an annual rate of return of 12.85% for a period of one year, said the Commission. The investment of Rs500 million was made in violation of sections 14, 16, 18, 19 and 20, along with other enabling provisions and rules of the PC Ordinance 2000 and the Trust Act 1882, it added.
The PC came to know about the violation in February 2011 and it made a request to the TIBL to return the money. However, TIBL refused to return even after maturity, said the PC.
After liaising with the Finance Division, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the PC and TIBL entered into a settlement agreement in November 2011. The TIBL deposited eight post-dated cheques for the repayment of principal outstanding amount of Rs500 million while agreeing to service mark up at 14% per annum on the outstanding amount.
However, all the cheques got dishonoured and the PC lodged an FIR with Federal Investigation Agency in November 2012 under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) & 489F (dishonour of cheques) of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860.
After lodging the complaint, the then management of the PC did not pursue the matter with FIA. No substantial progress was made on the case, after July 2013 – the last time the party paid Rs294.7 million in lieu of principal as well as mark-up against Rs500 million deposit.
The present management convinced the FIA to add non-bailable offence clauses in the FIR, urging it to play a role in fast track prosecutions.
The Supreme Court also took a suo motto notice of the matter and directed FIA and NAB to investigate the matter along with the Finance Division and the Privatisation Commission to ensure that every effort is made for the recovery of the amount invested with TIBL along with the mark-up, said the Commission.
The accused had filed voluntary return application for returning only Rs210 million. They, however, refused to service the accrued mark-up. However, PC pursued the matter with NAB, and insisted on the recovery of Rs404.5 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.