Pakistan’s financial world was rocked after allegations against National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President, Arif Usmani for the concealment of offshore assets made rounds in the media.
A media outlet reported that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has begun investigating Arif Usmani, for his alleged offshore assets worth billions of rupees.
However, former Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Shabbar Zaidi also vouched for Usmani calling him an ‘honourable man.’
“As former Senior Partner of AF Ferguson & Co and former Chairman FBR, it is my responsibility to agitate public debate on personal tax of Mr Arif Usmani President NBP. It destroys the faith on our tax system and resultantly Pakistan. Arif Usmani is an honourable man. Save Pakistan.
Furthermore, a group of Pakistani businessmen and professionals have also come out in support of Arif Usmani expressing deep concern over the ‘mistreatment’ against him by a section of media.
“He is the President of the NBP, the largest bank in Pakistan and was selected for this position after a global search for the person with the calibre, competency and integrity that is essential for such a position,” they said in a statement.
The said media outlet report citing its sources alleged that NBP president has stashed assets worth $11,481,440 (PKR1.8 billion), in Citi Trust, Jersey. However, Usmani denied all charges while in conversation with the media outlet.
Meanwhile, the statement from the businessmen community added that the recent newspaper reports of ‘unsubstantiated charges’ against Usmani are “at worst ill-intentioned attempts to besmirch his impeccable reputation or at best unthinking actions of less than thoughtful persons.”
They said that Usmani has built a name for himself over a forty year career in Pakistan and many other countries.
“He was a highly respected senior banker at Citigroup, where the bank rewarded him financially for 31 years of outstanding service in Pakistan and across the globe,” it said.
Meanwhile, about Usmani’s offshore assets, the businessmen community expressed that having worked most of his career outside Pakistan, Usmani like other overseas Pakistanis kept their income where they were, internationally.
“It is nonsensical to feign surprise that he was paid for his employment overseas and to instead assume that there must have been wrong-doing in having saved money for himself and his family,” it added.
The businessmen group was of the view that instead of launching and publicizing an investigation, “the correct thing to have done was to have simply asked him and he would have answered and clarified that there is no wrong-doing.”
“No doubt he (Usmani) will provide all the evidence necessary to clear his good name, and then the newspapers and agencies who have besmirched his reputation must issue a public apology. That is not only the correct and decent thing to do for Usmani, but for thousands of overseas Pakistanis who want to come back to contribute to their country.”
The community also urged the Prime Minister, and Planning and Finance Ministers to look into this matter.