Remittances scandal: SBP, WU officials face arrest warrants

Move may decrease open market value of the dollar.

Asad Kharal July 30, 2013
Move may decrease open market value of the dollar. PHOTO: FILE


In what now appears to be the country’s biggest foreign exchange remittance scandal, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) widened its net on Friday by seeking arrest warrants of five accused, including three officials of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Sources in FIA reveal that the arrest warrants of three senior functionaries of the Exchange Policy Department (EPD) of SBP, which is responsible for regulatory oversight of foreign exchange movement, have been issued by the Special Judicial Magistrate in the case of alleged misappropriations in remittances registered at the FIA corporate crime circle police station in Lahore.

Those whose arrest warrants have been issued include SBP Executive Director Asad Qureshi, Director Mansoor Ali Khan, and Additional Director Moinuddin, while the magistrate has cancelled the pre arrest bail of co-accused Najamul Saqib, Senior Joint Director of the EPD.

However, while talking to The Express Tribune, central bank spokesperson Umer Siddique said that the SBP has not received copies of the arrest warrants of EPD officials.

The arrest warrants of SBP officials comes amidst FIA’s ongoing investigations into alleged collusion between senior officials of the SBP, Western Union (WU) and Zarco Exchange Company Pvt Limited (ZECPL) in a remittance scam which has caused huge loss.

Similarly, the court has also issued the arrest warrants of Senior Vice President Middle East and Africa of WU, Jean Claude Farah and Regional Director of WU, Sobia Rehman, while the case of Abdul Hameed Fareed, Country Head of WU has been fixed for July 30.

During the course of investigation, evidence has also come forth regarding the payment of school fee of Najamul Saqib’s son from the account of Forex Company ZECPL on the instructions of its former CEO Mubashar Hayat Mirza. Sources reveal that the payments indicate that Najamul Saqib, and some officials of the EPD, were not fulfilling their legal obligation to monitor illegal transfer of foreign exchange outside the country.

Additionally, FIA sources told The Express Tribune that SBP officials at the EPD were involved in facilitating illegal transfer of foreign exchange.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.


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