NICL officials to visit Dubai to chalk out properties’ fate

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ISLAMABAD: After getting the green signal from the management at Liberty House, DIFC, Dubai, the head of National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) is going to visit Dubai for transfer of properties which the NICL has purchased for almost 159 per cent in excess of the market value in 2009.

NICL Acting Chief Executive Officer Syed Rafeq Bashir Shah has sought permission from Ministry of Commerce to visit Dubai, UAE from September 11 to 13, 2018 to talk to the DIFC officials for the transfer of title of Dubai properties of NICL as per the resolution passed by the NICL’s Board.

According to documents available with Pakistan Today, the Acting CEO of NICL has informed the ministry that the management of DIFC has given time and agreed to discuss the possibilities of orderly transfer of properties this month. The ministry had given permission to NICL’s head for visiting Dubai for the same purpose in July 2018 but the CEO could not travel to the foreign country sure to some documentary related issues here at the UAE embassy.

According an official of NICL, two options were there to decide about the properties which included selling or renting out. “The company may face losses in case of the sale of the properties. We may go for the option of renting out the properties,” he said.

As per investigation reports, in July 2009, the value of six office units, purchased by NICL, was just 28.8 million dirhams (AED), equivalent to Rs633 million approximately. However, the then NICL management had bought these office units for AED74.05 million, or Rs1.63 billion, causing a loss of roughly Rs1 billion in just one deal.

The deal was also investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The NICL’s affairs had remained under the scrutiny of the courts until 2014 when the accused persons were eventually acquitted.

A report of Land Sterling valuation revealed that even in December 2016, seven and a half years after the Dubai deal, the market value of the property was only AED42.765 million, which is still 42.2 per cent lesser than the 2009 purchase price.

Earlier, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken suo motu notice of the case after it was alleged that against a market price of AED1,200 per square foot, the NICL management bought the office space in Dubai at AED2,700 per square foot, causing a Rs900 million loss.

NICL is a public limited company that is responsible for providing insurance cover to the government and semi-government organisations. It had bought 27,429 square feet in total, which Land Sterling’s report suggests, should have had a valuation of only AED1, 094.49 per square foot in 2009.

The Dubai property comprises six office units of various sizes with a gross area of 27,429 square feet and total sellable area of 22,024 square feet in Liberty House, Dubai International Financial Centre, around 10km from Dubai International Airport.