NBP finds 600,000 ghost pensioners

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ISLAMABAD: The National BANK of Pakistan (NBP) has found 600,000 ghost pensioners of the federal government, the armed forces and the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI).

Keeping in view this emerging mega scam, the parliamentary committee of the Senate on Tuesday decided to summon the officers concerned of the Auditor General Public Revenues (AGPR), EOBI, State Bank of Pakistan and Military Accountant General to probe the issue before recommending remedial measures to the government.

“We will call everybody to reconcile the data of pensioners, as it is a shocking disclosure that the NBP alone found 600,000 ghost pensioners,” Chairman Senate Standing Committee on FINANCE Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said while chairing a committee meeting at the Parliament House on Tuesday afternoon.

The issue surfaced during the committee proceedings when the AGP raised the issue that after transferring pension to accounts, banks were not furnishing life certificates every six months to ensure that the kith and kin of dead pensioners were not getting pensions.

President NBP Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf told the committee that they were opening BANK accounts of all the pensioners and preparing their ATMs with the facility of biometric verification.

The BANK has so far opened the accounts of 400,000 pensioners and the process of all the 1.6 million pensioners will be completed by next year, he added.Earlier, Mudassir H. Khan, NBP’s group chief, commercial & retail BANKING, told the committee that they had cleansed the data of pensioners by opening up accounts but some 600,000 did not turn up for opening their accounts, which brought down the total number of pensioners from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.

“We only disbursed the amount among pensioners after getting their verified lists from parent organisations so that we are in a better position to ascertain the exact number of possible ghost pensioners,” he told the parliamentary committee.

However, Accountant General of Pakistan Asif Ali contested these figures and said all the pensioners number stood at 375,000, so they could not understand the figure of 600,000 ghost pensioners.

He said a total of 18,000 retired employees in the AGPR, Punjab’s 134,000, KP’s 18,000 and Sindh’s 7,700 were getting pension through the ATMs so the figure of 600,000 ghost employees could not be digested.

The NBP high-ups explained that the figure belonged to the retired employees of the federal government, armed forces and EOBI.The committee took up the issue of Rs18.5 billion loss to the bank for providing loans to fake companies and individuals and directed the management to approach the Bangladeshi courts and REGISTER criminal cases.

The chairman of the committee directed them to approach the Foreign Office and proceed against criminals by registering FIRs and approaching courts in Bangladesh.Answering a query, the NBP high-ups said they had charge-sheeted 61 bank officials from the TOP to the bottom but so far no action had been taken against them. The case was forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-39172-NBP-finds-600000-ghost-pensioners

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