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April 26, 2016

Cabinet body probing BoK issue yet to submit report


April 26, 2016


Finds MD’s response to questionnaire unconvincing

PESHAWAR: The rumours surrounding the report of the four-member cabinet committee investigating the corruption charges levelled against provincial Finance Minister Muzafar Said by the Managing Director (MD) of the Bank of Khyber (BoK) Shamsul Qayyum are likely to make the rounds in media for some more days as the probe body has not yet submitted the findings to the chief minister.

The story of the allegations and counter-allegations levelled by the finance minister and BoK MD has been hitting the headlines in the national media since April 14 after the publication of an interview of the finance minister in which he said that he was not consulted about the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) being carried out in the bank.

The interview apparently infuriated the top-bureaucracy that allegedly in a bid to offset the impact of the minister’s interview made the MD to float an advertisement in the media on April 16 accusing the minister of using bank’s resources for his political public meetings.

The chief minister after a massive hue and cry in the media by the opposition parties took note of the matter. He formed a four-member cabinet committee to investigate the matter on April 19 and directed it to submit its report.

The committee is headed by Senior Minister Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Sikandar Sherpao, while provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi, Health Minister Shahram Tarakai, Minister for Public Health and Engineering Shah Farman and principal secretary to the chief minister Muhammad Israr Khan is secretary of the committee.

The committee during the course of its investigation has recorded the statements of the parties and quizzed (MD) of the bank, five sacked employees and finance minister and two senior journalists.

The committee was supposed to submit its report to the chief minister on April 22. However, it could not meet its 72-hour deadline that ended on April 22 (Friday).

A source privy to the proceedings of the committee, however, ruled out any deliberate effort to delay the completion and submission of the report, and said that the weekly holidays and murder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the provincial assembly (MPA), Sardar Soran Singh and demise of the mother of the Qaumi Watan Party Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Dir, Bakht Baidar, were also among factors that led to the delay in the submission of the report.

He said that PTI-affiliated ministers had to leave for Buner to condole with Soran Singh’s family on Friday, while then there were two weekly holidays. The senior minister also had to visit Dir to offer fateha for the departed soul of Bakht Baidar’s mother.

Sharing, though reluctantly the proceedings of the committee, the source told The News the MD’s replies to a questionnaire couldn’t impress the committee.He said as alleged in the BoK advertisement, the MD couldn’t produce the dates of political meetings held by the finance minister at the expenses of the bank. The source said the dates the MD produced were those on which the minister inaugurated some branches of the bank at the request of the bank’s management.He also hastened to add that the report would positively be submitted in a day or two that would also put an end to the speculative reports in the media.

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