KARACHI: As many as 16 officials of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and petroleum companies, etc., have been placed in judicial custody for their alleged involvement in a Rs54 billion ‘biggest financial scam’ after a Special Banking Court rejected their interim bails on February 20, 2023.
The officials from the NBP, petroleum companies – Hascol Petroleum Limited (HPL), Byco, etc, were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in a case in 2022 on charges of fraud, criminal breach of trust and money laundering etc.
As per details, on February 20, 2023, a Special Banking Court rejected the officers’ interim bails. And the FIA arrested them on the court premises and sent them to jail. As soon as the court’s decision was announced, the accused had tried to flee the court room but they were arrested inside the premises of the court.
Among the detained are said to be eight bank officers and eight petroleum company management personnel.
FIA Commercial Banking Circle Karachi had filed the case under sections 477/471/468/420/409-A/109 PPC r/w 5(2) of PCA 1947 r/w 3/4 AMLA 2010 Amended in 2020.
One of the founding directors of Hascol Petroleum, Mumtaz Hasan, was arrested in the case (charge number 01/2022). As many as 30 officials of ‘partner’ companies, including Vitol, Fossil Energy and NBP, were also nominated in the same case.
FIA claimed that they had committed financial fraud in the shape of bank loans, over-invoicing, costly storage arrangements, kickbacks, money laundering and funded and non-funded financial facilities in violation of the banking laws, causing losses to the national exchequer and gains to the petroleum company.
The officials under judicial custody are Saleem Butt, Tahir Ali, Khurram Shehzad Veenjhar, Usman Shahid, Nawabzada Akbar Hassan Khan, Rima Athar, Wajahat A. Baqai, Tariq Jamali, Muhammad Saleem Saleemi, Muhammad Asmar Atique, Syed Jamal Baquar, Muhammad Ali Ansari, Saeed Ahmed, Syed Hassan Irtiza Kazmi, Aqeel Ahmed Khan and Muhammad Ali Haroon.
Four of the accused, including Muhammad Hamid Khan, Abdul Aziz Khalid, and Farid Arshad Masood, have been declared as proclaimed offenders in the case. One of the accused, Syed Ahmad Iqbal Ashraf, has been declared as absconder. Another accused, Mumtaz Hassan Khan, is on bail.
On Tuesday, the Hascol Petroleum notified that its board has authorized Chief Financial Officer Amad Uddin to exercise authority as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after the trial judge refused confirmation of bail applications of CEO Aqeel Ahmed Khan along with others’.
“Following today’s decision by the Trial Judge to refuse confirmation of bail applications from a number of individuals, in the matter of FIA Enquiry No. 127/2021, it has led to the detention of numerous persons, including the CEO of Hascol Petroleum Limited (HPL), Aqeel Ahmed Khan,” said Hascol Petroleum Limited in a statement.
“While we are advised by the legal counsel representing the CEO that post-arrest bail should be granted, in the meantime, in order to operate the affairs of HASCOL, the board has authorised the CFO, Amad Uddin, to exercise the authority of the CEO until this issue is resolved or there is a further decision taken by the board,” the notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023