Post employees accused of stealing remittances


Rehan Hashmi April 21, 2010

KARACHI: Cheques worth millions of rupees sent by overseas Pakistanis to their families at home have allegedly been intercepted and cashed by a group of Pakistan Post Office staffers, according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials.

A private bank sent an application to the FIA, alerting it to the fraud. The bank told the agency that many cheques sent from Canada and Australia via post were not being received by the people they were addressed to but being cashed by unidentified people.

The additional director FIA ordered Inspector Liaquat Baloch of the agency’s Commercial Bank Circle to probe the matter. Initial investigations suggest that some staffers were scanning the envelopes and removing the cheques.

The names on the cheques were deleted with a chemical, the officials said, and substituted for other ones. The amounts were changed also to make the fraud difficult to trace. According to FIA officials, those committing the fraud had opened accounts with a private bank for the clearing of the cheques.

FIA authorities have asked the Pakistan Post Office for details about the remittance procedure, as well as the number of cheques sent daily to Pakistan. Records of the accounts in which the stolen money was deposited have also been seized and a case for fraud registered. The FIA is conducting raids to arrest the accused.

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