KARACHI/RAWALPINDI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday declared the documents detailing massive amounts transacted from the purported accounts of top parliamentarians “fake”, saying that no actual transaction had taken place.
National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah brought the matter to the attention of the authorities after receiving Term Deposit Reports (TDRs) from banks where they did not operate any accounts.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan and Kashmir Committee Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman were also among those who claimed that fake bank accounts were being operated in their names.
FIA to question bank managers, staff
On Thursday, the central bank came out with an initial report on the mystery of the transactions worth tens of millions of rupees, saying that on the basis of the complaint received from the National Assembly speaker, the accounts and the transactions in these accounts were probed by the SBP.
“Initial results reveal that no such TDRs have been issued by SME Bank nor any of these parliamentarians have any deposit account with the said bank,” the SBP statement said.
“It is clarified that the bank issues TDRs only for those of its customers who already have a deposit account with the said bank,” it added.
“It appears that the TDRs had been issued using counterfeit or stolen TDR forms from SME Bank, [ostensibly] by some unscrupulous elements to malign the parliamentarians,” the statement said.
“The SME Bank is also taking up the matter with the relevant law enforcement agency for further investigation,” it concluded.
Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has initiated a probe into the issue on the complaint of Mr Rabbani, who had received a receipt from SME Bank at his Karachi residence, which stated that an amount of Rs100 million had been deposited into his account.
According to a senior FIA official, the agency has launched an investigation in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi since the receipts of fixed deposit accounts were received by parliamentarians in these three cities.
The official said the FIA was trying to establish where the bank accounts originated and would also analyse fingerprints taken from envelopes containing the bank receipts.
Investigators would also analyse signatures and thumb impressions on the account opening forms.
“It is very difficult for an individual to open a fictitious bank account after the introduction of the biometric verification system, through which banks verify the computerised national identity card and other details of the applicant before opening an account,” he said.
The official said that FIA investigators would also look as to how the accounts were opened in SME Bank and would question the branch manager and other staff members concerned.
He said that the parliamentarians, who were the complainants in the matter, would not need to be questioned by FIA investigators. “Had any of them made any transactions through these bank accounts, they would have been investigated.”
He said that if the accounts were found to be fake, any unclaimed money would be transferred to the national exchequer.