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April 17, 2019

Ilegal BoK appointments: NAB completes inquiry into mega scandal

PESHAWAR: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter has completed an investigation into illegal appointment of 103 officials to Bank of Khyber (BoK) including former managing director (MD) Shamsul Qayyum.

The inquiry report has made some startling revelations. The Peshawar High Court (PHC) had rejected a plea for stopping NAB from conducting an inquiry into the scam, and also vacated the stay order after three years.

The NAB inquiry revealed that Shamsul Qayyum was illegally appointed as managing director of the BoK. On March 5, 2013, the contract of Bilal Mustfa, ex-MD of the bank, expired, and an advertisement was released on July 26, 2013 for appointment of the new MD. A committee under provincial chief secretary was formed for appointment of the new MD of the bank. Forty-two candidates submitted applications in response to the advertisement, and only 14 of them were short-listed.

However, all of them were rejected in the interview process, and it was decided on December 16, 2013, that the recruitment process would be started afresh. A new summary was presented to KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, in which the criteria for eligibility were visibility changed. The age limit for the managing director post was increased and the salary package was upgraded from Rs9.5 million to Rs16.8 million per annum. Under the summary, the chief minister permitted hiring of a chartered firm for transparent hiring of the MD. The services of M/s Deloitte were hired for short-listing the candidates. The firm declared seven candidates eligible and rejected 17 others, and also assigned reasons for selection or rejection of the candidates.

Interesting to point out here is that former MD Shamsul Qayyum was declared unfit for the MD post and reasons were also assigned for that. However, on Sept 11, 2014, the provincial government prepared a list for the appointment of the MD and MD Shamsul Qayyum was placed on number four.

According to NAB investigations, the interview mark-sheet was not filled and interviews of 24 candidates were scheduled the same day. The government committee placed Shamsul Qayyum on top of the list. On October 1, 2014, a summary was sent to the chief minister and a notification for the appointment of Shamsul Qayyum was issued the same day. It was despite the fact that according to the State Bank of Pakistan laws, no appointment can be made without getting clearance from the bank. Shamsul Qayyum was appointed on October 1, 2014, whereas the SBP issued a clearance certificate on January 26, 2015.

According to the NAB inquiry, 572 employees were appointed by the bank between 2012 and 2016. Of them, 102 appointments have been declared illegal. As many as 43 officials were appointed without publishing an advertisement. These employees were also over-age. Sixteen officials did not have relevant experience, whereas 28 officials lacked academic qualification. Also, four persons were appointed without evaluating their eligibility.

Documents say the Provincial Ehtesab Commission initiated investigations against the bank in 2016. The Bank of Khyber got a stay order against the commission.

The Ehtesab Commission then sent the case to NAB. The bank got another stay order. However, Peshawar High Court judge, Justice Syed Afsar Shah, vacated the stay on February 20, 2019 and allowed NAB to carry out investigations.

Bank of Khyber’s new MD Saiful Islam, talking to the correspondent, said the bank had moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan, but they willfully cooperated with NAB as per the directions of the Peshawar High Court.