ISLAMABAD: Though almost two years have passed since the unearthing of a Rs18-billion fraud in Bangladesh operations of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), the management has not fired even a single officer while recoveries stand at a meagre Rs1.7 billion.

Giving a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday, NBP President Syed Iqbal Ashraf again expressed his inability to take action against the top management working at that time.

The case is also being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and before it comes up with its findings, the NBP management has exonerated six employees while reprimanding four others.

Ashraf said so far $17 million or Rs1.7 billion could be recovered from the parties, hoping the figure would rise next year.

A forensic audit report of KPMG – a leading chartered accountant firm – had identified “61 delinquent employees” who were found involved in the fraud. After intense pressure from the NA standing committee and the media, the NBP management had framed charges against 57 employees but spared the top four executives of that time including two former presidents. Syed Ali Raza was one of them.

The management again refused to take legal action against the top four executives, citing legal advice from a private firm in its defence.

KPMG had found that NBP’s Bangladesh operations started facing problems in 2007, when branches reported non-performing loans, although the initial trigger was seen in 2003. A total of 19 triggers were sent to the head office from 2003 to 2012 but no action was taken, according to the KPMG report.

The bank president said out of the 57 employees against whom charges were framed, 40 were working in the head office, 12 in Bangladesh branches and five at the regional office in Bahrain.

Of the 61 accused, 11 were either executive vice presidents or senior executive vice presidents. The management said inquiry against four in-service employees had been completed and a decision would be taken by the board’s human resource committee.

The decision to send cases of the four executives to the human resource committee suggests that the bank would not take any adverse action against them. The management told the committee that out of the seven retired executives, three had gone to court while findings against three executives were pending with the human resource committee.

The NBP president said the case against eight employees was pending with the disciplinary committee for a final decision while inquiry against six employees was in process.

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