Banker accused of defrauding national exchequer of Rs3bn remanded into NAB custody

Dawn

A National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) official accused of involvement in embezzlement of up to Rs3 billion was on Thursday sent on 11-day physical remand after he confessed to the charges brought against him in an accountability court.

Usman Saeed, who headed the Foreign Exchange Department of NBP at its main branch in Lahore, had been arrested by the National Accountability Court a day earlier and presented in court today.

The accused admitted his guilt in court, saying: “I realised that I had made a mistake after issuing the payment. [Other] accused kept on blackmailing me; they took money on the promise of returning it.”

He told the court that he has so far issued payments to 12 parties.

According to NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua, an initial investigation has revealed that owners of 13 business groups colluded with bank officials to defraud the national exchequer of billions of rupees.

The prosecutor alleged that the accused used to get their imported consignments released without paying for it.

The case’s investigation officer (IO) also claimed to have found evidence of embezzlement of up to Rs3bn during investigation.

“NAB Lahore is looking into the involvement of more bank officials and other companies,” the IO said, adding that the list of business groups involved and the monies siphoned off have been released.

The bureau sought a fortnight’s remand of the accused but was granted 11-day custody.

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