The Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has found that there was a nexus between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmad – as the latter used his various bank accounts to provide illegal financial benefits to the former, as well as the Sharif family.
According to the Volume-II of the JIT report in Panamagate case, the NBP president claimed before the JIT that Dar used his bank account for conducting transactions – an assertion that Dar refuted before the JIT during his appearance on July 3.
Separate appearances of Ahmad and Dar before the JIT had pitched one-time business partners and long-time friends against each other.
While Ahmad still holds the post of NBP president, his name has been placed on the exit control list by the JIT.
“From the analysis of the accounts of Saeed Ahmad and movement of funds in his various accounts, it can be concluded that he used his various accounts for movement of funds for illegal benefit of Ishaq Dar and the Sharif family,” the JIT concluded on the basis of bank records of these transactions.
“I was approached by Ishaq Dar to open a bank account in the Emirates Bank (Lahore branch), which was to be used to facilitate the business of Hajveri Modarba through securing loans for onward lending to its clients,” Ahmad told the JIT .
He further stated, “I opened my account on the directions of Ishaq Dar in the Emirates Bank and handed over the cheque book to Mr Naeem, who was an employee of the Hajveri Modaraba, to operate my account on the instructions of Ishaq Dar for the benefit of the company as I was residing in London.”
Ahmad said that since he was not operating the account, he did not have knowledge about the transactions that were carried out.
“His [Ahmad’s] statement, when analyzed against the available record, is found to be preposterous and absolutely false,” according to the JIT.
“Amount of around $6.765 million was transferred abroad from his [Ahmad’s] account at Emirates Bank through Foreign Telegraphic Transfers,” JIT wrote while analysing the bank record of that period.
The JIT further wrote that between 1996 and 1998, average balance in Ahmad’s Emirates Bank International account remained around $7 million to $8 million that peaked to $11.7 million in October 1997.
The finance minister, however, denied before the JIT that he was controlling Ahmad’s bank account in Emirates Bank.
“It seems improbable that he [Ahmad] would give me the attorney to operate the account, as being the chief executive, I had a lot of other business matters to deal with,” Dar told the JIT.
JIT’s analysis part of the report stated that Ahmad remained closely associated with Dar and the Hajveri Group, owned by the finance minister. During the 1990s, Ahmad had 50,000 shares of M/s Hajveri Modaraba Management Private Limited, it added.
Analysis of the statement given by the NBP president showed that he “failed to explain as to why deposits in his private account were being used as collateral for subsequent loans to the companies and individuals”.
Ahmad even refused to acknowledge his signatures on the account opening forms of various accounts used in shady and fraudulent transactions, stated the JIT.
“I had only opened an account in Emirates Bank, Gulburg branch, Lahore, whereas I have no knowledge of the other three accounts as I never opened or operated them,” said Ahmad while testifying before the JIT.
He added it was correct that his national identity card and passport were used to open the three accounts, but someone had used his documents to pen these fake accounts through “fraud and forgery”.
“I totally disown these accounts and banking transaction made therein,” he added.
The JIT noted that as per assessment of available documents and record, Ahmad’s five accounts in different banks were used for movement of funds associated with fake accounts of the Qazi family, fake accounts opened by Javed Kayani and accounts of Mosa Ghani and Mukhtar Husain. Mosa Ghani is Dar’s wife’s nephew.
It added that the first such account was opened in the Bank of America in 1991 and an amount of $1.12 million was received in this account mostly through Foreign Telegraphic Transfers. This amount was used to extend loan to Dar against the lien on this deposit.
In June 1992, the available amount in this account was withdrawn and Dollar Bearer Certificates were credited into the newly opened account of Mosa Ghani.
An amount of $4.2 million was transferred from Mosa Ghani and members of the Qazi family to Ahmad’s accounts maintained with Atlas BOT Investment Bank.
The JIT analysis further revealed that receipt of funds from the fraudulently-opened Qazi family accounts by the NBP president reflects that either he himself was the beneficial owner, or he was receiving funds from fake accounts on behalf of someone, or he knew about the actual beneficial owner.
It further wrote that as per NAB reference 5/2000 and statements of various money changers and bankers recorded by the National Accountability Bureau, most of this amount was brought back into the account of Hudabiya Paper Mills.
By Shahbaz Rana