ISLAMABAD - The Privatisation Commission (PC), through strong persistence and in collaboration with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), has recovered the Voluntary Return Offer amount of Rs 404.5 million from Asif Kamal, Chairman, Trust Investment Bank Limited (TIBL).

The Executive Board of NAB, in a meeting held on April 18, approved the decision.

Given that Rs 294.37 million had been recovered earlier, the commission will now be able to recover a total amount of Rs 698.87 million on account of Rs 500 million initial placement of funds with TIBL.

TIBL had procured Rs 500/- million of public money in two tranches:

Rs 300 million and Rs. 200 million on 26-5-2010 and 28-6-2010, respectively at the rate of return of 12.85 percentage per annum for a period of one year.

The investment of Rs 500 Million was made in violation of sections 14, 16, 18, 19 and 20, respectively, along with other enabling provisions, rules and regulations of the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000 (PC Ordinance) and the Trust Act, 1882. In February 2011, it was noticed that the investment made by TIBL was in breach of the Finance Division’s instructions as well as the provisions of Section 14 of the PC Ordinance.

TIBL was, therefore, requested for an early withdrawal of the amount invested in February 2011. However, TIBL not only refused to return the amount but also expressed its inability to return the amount even upon maturity i.e. in May & June 2011, respectively.

After liaising with Finance Division, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), PC and TIBL entered into a Settlement Agreement on November 28, 2011, whereby TIBL deposited eight post-dated cheques with PC, spanning over a period of 12 months for the repayment of principal outstanding amount of Rs.500 million, while agreeing to the service mark up at the rate of 14 percent per annum on the outstanding amount.

All the cheques got dishonoured on presentation, and the PC was therefore constrained to lodge an FIR with FIA on November 11, 2012 under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) & 489F (dishonour of cheques) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court took a suo motto notice of the matter, and directed FIA and NAB to investigate the matter along with the Finance Division and the Privatisation Commission to ensure recovery of the amount invested with TIBL along with the markup.

On July 3, 2013, an amount of Rs.294.37 million was recovered in lieu of principal as well as markup against Rs. 500 million; thereafter, no substantial progress could be made.

However, the current PC management started actively pursuing the matter at all forums, including the Supreme Court, high courts (Lahore and Islamabad), Banking Court, Lahore and with the aid of investigation agencies i.e. FIA and NAB.

As a result of relentless pressure exerted by PC, an application for voluntary return of the looted amount was filed by the defaulters with NAB for a lesser amount of only Rs. 210 million.

They also refused to service the accrued markup. However, the PC continued to actively pursue the matter with the NAB, and insisted on the current actual balance amount due, including the markup.