Economics & Business

NBP employees start protest movement to get corrupt removed

Islamabad: Tired with the unending political appointments that has taken toll on the biggest state-run bank of the country and corruption amounting to tens of billions, the employees of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) have announced to launch a protest movement aimed at removal of dishonest elements from the top management of the Bank.

The countrywide movement will stop only when the demand of a cleaner management is fulfilled by the current democratic government in which from President to the lowest ranking political nominees are battling charges of massive corruption. Many top officials including ministers have already been removed by the government fearing public backlash while recently MD of the national flag career PIA, Captain Muhammad Ijaz Haroon, an adjutant of President Asif Ali Zardari was removed.

His removal came after losses to the tune of tens of billions and a nation-wide strike that inflicted additional losses of Rs. 5 billion to the crumbling airline commonly know an white elephant in Pakistan. Employees of the bank, dismayed over the state of the affairs and increasing political mingling, and encouraged by the removal of the dictators in Tunisia as well as Egypt have decided to test their luck.

They say that the NBP management, undeterred by the removal of its notorious President Ali Raza by the Supreme Court has received Cash Awards to the tune of million without clearing annual profit. The awards were received without the approval of Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is violation of the rules.

The employees union says that management is delaying raise in salary and other benefits despite inflation that is rocketing out of sight but received cash rewards in a very secretive manner that cannot be tolerated. The actions of the Supreme Court, warnings for the government and uproar in media means nothing to those who are running the show in the bank because they are connected to the highest political authorities in the country.

The have been providing incentives to the top officials of the finance ministry as well as that of the State bank of Pakistan. They said that management is appointing superannuated, holders of fake degrees and other unwanted elements on contractual basis to please the influential that will not be tolerated.

First protest will be carried out on Feb 19th in front of State Bank during which evidence of corruption of NBP top brass will be presented to the Governor SBP after which the movement will kick off, they informed. The non-transparent conduct of the management of NBP has helped devalue shares of the bank from Rs 70 from Rs 300.

It may be recalled that the acting president of NBP Mr. Qamar Hussain is close aide of president of Pakistan and that of Mr. Riaz Laljee facing various corruption charges. On 1 January 2009 Qamar Hussain, was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) – a post which never existed before – and was made chairman of three important companies owned by the NBP.

Credible sources in the NBP and close circles of Asif Zardari insist that Qamar used to handle most of the financial matters of Asif Zardari as his close friend. No position of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) ever existed in the bank, and it was created just seven days back. Qamar will look after very sensitive information which before this was handled by more than one group heads of the NBP under a well-defined mechanism.

President’s office circular No 20/2008 dated December 29, 2008, through which the appointment of Qamar was made, reads: “Mr Qamar Hussain has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer & Head of Credit/Risk Management functions of the bank, directly reporting to the undersigned.

Besides Credit Management Group, Risk Review & Industry Research Division and Economic Research Wing will also fall under his purview. Further, he is also appointed the Chairman of the Boards of the following subsidiaries including NBP Exchange Company Limited, NBP Capital Limited, and National Bank Modarba Management Company Limited.”

According to ousted President of NBP, Syed Ali Raza, “In NBP there was no position of COO, so we have created it in our bid to reorganise the bank in current changing global economic scenarios.”

For the fact that no advertisement was ever made before the appointment of such a great importance, Syed Ali Raza said such high-profile positions are never advertised and NBP’s head hunters department gives its suggestions. He explained that this department recommended three persons, namely Saqib Mukhtar, Tariq Idrees and Qamar Hussain. “All were interviewed and finally Qamar was appointed.”

By getting all these powers in the only state-owned bank, Qamar dealt with the changes in dollar rate and NBP shares rate, which both have deep impact on stock exchange business and country’s economy, and has become the lone master of an important and critical segment of the country’s economy.

During his term, Qamar helped politicians a lot and made billions or himself which paved the way for his elevation although he never deserved it and lacked critical requirements mandatory for the slot, insiders said.

Source: All Voices

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Tariq Khattak

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