Senate body directs NAB to complete investigation in Rs480bn circular debt case in next 120 days
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday claimed that it would be completing an investigation into the Multan Metro Bus and Bank of Punjab (BoP) cases within the next 60 days.
NAB officials, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, claimed that investigation into the two important cases had been initiated on the recommendation of the committee.
They said that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had been formed to investigate the BoP case. They said the case revolved around the executive of the bank who illegally tampered with the prices of shares and sold them at a low value.
On the other hand, the Multan Metro Bus case investigations were focused on Rs 5 billion of the project funds that were illegally sent to China, the officials said. Initial investigation revealed that the money was sent to a Chinese company called Yabaite, they added.
According to NAB officials, all the records related to Multan Metro Bus project were collected and investigation into alleged money laundering had been started by the bureau. In this case, the findings of Chinese regulatory body were also being examined, they said.
Meanwhile, while briefing the meeting about Rs 480 billion Circular Debt case, which was also sent by the committee for investigation, NAB officials claimed that complete record of the payment had been demanded from the Ministry of Water and Power.
Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla asked NAB officials to avoid including someone from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in the JIT in connection with the BoP case as SECP had been protecting the corrupt officials in the past. Senator Mohsin Aziz said that SECP was trying to save those involved in the Multan Metro Bus case. The committee later asked NAB to complete investigation into the Circular Debt case within the next 120 days.
During the meeting, stock market investors blamed the SECP, as well as, NAB for deliberately delaying the settlement in default of Ace Securities. After facing failures from the regulatory end, the investors approached the Senate Standing Committee on Finance for support.
Briefing the committee, senior brokers Ghani, Usman and an investor Shiraz Lalani said that the solution to the crises was to clear the payments to the investors throughout of court settlement.
“NAB has failed to do anything in the case except for delaying things, whereas, SECP officers promised to play a supportive role in April 2017,” Lalani said, “The only answer they have is that the matter was in the court but they are not even cooperating with us to settle the issues.”
Whereas, the brokers said that one of the accused had expired and the other one had fled to Canada. “If he dies too, how would they reach any settlement?” he questioned.
They informed the committee that the default case was ongoing since 2015 and an application for a plea bargain was filed in 2016. Unfortunately, both SECP and NAB were only interested in filing references in the court instead of settling the case.
Lalani said that out of 400 claimants, around 198 persons had investments of up to Rs 100,000, “These cases can be settled as the claimants are small investors and we can move ahead to clear dues of higher amount later.” The committee directed NAB and SECP to meet the investors before the next hearing and file an application in the court for an out of court settlement.