NAB asks interior ministry to keep NBP president on ECL

Published: October 27, 2017
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National Bank of Pakistan. PHOTO: NBP

National Bank of Pakistan. PHOTO: NBP

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NBA) on Thursday asked the interior ministry to keep National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmad on the Exit Control List as “he is wanted [by the bureau] in several cases”.

The request comes as Ahmad is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of United National Bank in London, UK. Group head of NBP (International Banking) is also to accompany Ahmed.

A senior NAB official told The Express Tribune that the finance ministry had recently contacted the interior ministry, requesting it for necessary measures to allow the NBP president to fly to London for the meeting.

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The interior ministry then contacted the NAB after which Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal directed his officers to make an official request to the interior ministry for keeping Ahmad’s name on no-fly list for being wanted by the bureau in several pending cases, including those concerning Panama Papers and Hudabiya Mills, said the official.

He said that in the light of the NAB chairman’s directives, a letter had been dispatched to the interior ministry. The letter, he added, had been written given the likelihood that Ahmad, being a UK national, might not return once flown to UK.

However, Ahmad – who is was one of the accused in Panamagate and Hudabiya Mills cases – negated the impression while talking to The Express Tribune.

“I do not know of any cases in which I am required as an accused or as a witness,” he said, adding that he never received any notice from the authorities about being put on ECL.

About NAB’s apprehensions that he might not return in view of the pending cases, the NBP president said, “It’s not true. I am a professional,” he said, explaining that he is flying to attend to NBP business. “Not going will have a negative impact on NBP,” he added.

The joint investigation team (JIT) that had probed Sharif family’s offshore assets had recommended placement of Ahmad’s name on the ECL.

The JIT, in its report, had pointed out to a nexus between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Ahmad, claiming that the latter used his various bank accounts to provide illegal financial benefits to the former, as well as the Sharif family.

According to the Volume-II of the JIT report on the Panamagate case, the NBP president claimed before the JIT that Dar used his bank account for carrying out transactions.

“I opened my account on the directions of Ishaq Dar in the Emirates Bank and handed over the cheque book to Mr Naeem, who was an employee of the Hajveri Modaraba, to operate my account on the instructions of Ishaq Dar for the benefit of the company as I was residing in London,” Ahmed had told the JIT, adding that since he was not operating the account, he did not have a knowledge of the transactions that were carried out.

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“From the analysis of the accounts of Saeed Ahmad and movement of funds in his various accounts, it can be concluded that he used his various accounts for movement of funds for illegal benefit of Ishaq Dar and the Sharif family,” the JIT concluded on the basis of bank records of these transactions.

In its verdict in the Panamagate case, the Supreme Court had directed NAB to include in the proceedings all other persons, including Saeed Ahmed, who have any direct or indirect nexus or connection with the actions of the respondents i.e. the Sharif family members and Ishaq Dar.

“He [Mr Ahmed] had been running a nursing home for elderly people in London for last many years [before he was appointed SBP deputy governor and then president NBP by the incumbent regime] as a lot of people living in London do not have the time to take care of their elders. But he was a very qualified person and an actuary by profession,” Dar had told the JIT while recording his statement on July 3.

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