FBR initiates probe into NBP president’s alleged offshore assets

Usmani denies all charges in conversation with Profit

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has begun investigating incumbent National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President, Arif Usmani, for his alleged offshore assets worth billions of rupees. 

Sources privy to the information told Profit that the incumbent NBP president has stashed assets worth $11,481,440, equivalent to Rs1.8 billion, in Citi Trust, Jersey which is known to be a haven for illicit money.

The tax department is probing Usmani on concealment of offshore accounts as he did not mention the details while filing tax returns for 2008 to 2012 when he was resident in Pakistan or in the tax returns for the year 2018.

In addition, sources said that Arif Usmani was also issued an overseas Pakistani card in February 2012, valid till June 2019, when his CNIC was renewed.

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It is pertinent to mention here that according to the law, every Pakistani having foreign income above $10,000 or having foreign assets with a value of $100,000 had to furnish a statement of foreign income and assets under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Further, concealment of offshore assets also falls under Section 3 (ii) of the Anti Money Laundering Act 2010 states that “a person shall be guilty of an offence of money laundering, if the person conceals or disguises the true nature, origin, location, disposition, movement or ownership of property, knowing or having reason to believe that such property is proceeds of crime”.

Sources said that Usmani, in response to a show-cause notice in his tax returns for 2018, had said that he was a non-resident in 2018 and all offshore assets he earned were during his non-residency abroad. 

However, sources said that the tax officials were not satisfied with his statement and he was asked to furnish evidence of investment in Citi Trust’s offshore bank account, along with complete bank statements reflecting dates when the amounts were credited.

The Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) government had appointed Arif Usmani as President NBP in February 2019 for three years. Soon after taking over the charge of the bank, Usmani started hiring a large number of contractual employees in various branches of the bank in and abroad on very hefty salaries, which cost the NBP an additional Rs2.9 billion besides the profit of the bank is from treasury bills and all other major functions of the bank are in losses as per the September 2020 figures.

It is pertinent to mention here that the National Assembly (NA) finance committee has also directed the NBP to furnish appointments details as contractual appointments are against Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Supreme Court (SC) verdicts. 

It is worth noting that a petitioner has also challenged Usmani’s appointment as NBP chief in the IHC. The petitioner has not only raised questions about Usmani’s BSC physics degree but also disclosed that he concealed four charges from the National Drug Law Enforcement Authority (NDLEA) in Nigeria from the SBP.

When contacted, Arif Usmani informed this scribe that he is submitting information about his offshore assets to FBR, which were acquired during 26 years that he spent out of the country.

In response to another question about mentioning offshore properties to the SBP, he said that it was not required to declare offshore assets and he is declaring them as per the law.  

About the money laundering case in Nigeria, he replied that the money laundering case was closed as it was not real. “The case was on Citibank Nigeria, not on me. My name was only mentioned because I was the bank’s CEO,” he said.

Similarly, regarding the payment of a hefty amount to M/s EY Ford Rhodes, he replied that they are personal accountants who he pays for out of his own pocket.

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Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

14 COMMENTS

  1. Till the time money track is available, a person can not be charged for illegal money and when he has paid tax, then his amount is also legal. The source of income may be salary, profit or inherited property

  2. Banking scrutiny holds no water. Read up the findings of BCCI investigator, Robert Mazur on flimsy scrutiny of Wachovia Bank with upwards of 400bn dollars in money laundering compared to just 15mn dollars BCCI was attributed to.
    For a banker having stashed away money in some slush funds in an illicit joint known for dirty money is itself a clear rejoinder to a strawman’s excuse of prove me guilty first. Having spent years in a former communist creepy world of the Eastern Europe and rummaged and ransacked region of the West Africa through clandestine banking channels, it takes all sorts of worlds to get along, not that a charity fund for the poor.

  3. This is another example of contract staff ( performance paid ) vs union staff ( paid by time spent).
    While the former are busy fulfilling goals & targets, the later excel in finding holes.
    Compare performance of HBL & MCB pre privatization & current.

  4. It’s saddening to see that Pakistani bankers were used (or they proved worth their salt) facilitating banking transactions in those regions of the world known for rigged practices.

    HBL and MCB are both backed by conglomerates in textile, oil & power, insurance, and auto manucturing sector. MCB’s management buyout or its acquisition was done through a loan facility drawn on the same bank in order to use that money to buy the very same bank by its current owner. It is ingenious at its best. What else?

  5. Again Mr.Arif Usmani Identified corrupt all cases are against Usmani misleading, wrong appointment in NBP corruption in departments logistic, legal &HR department also appointment of Group Chief HR appointment as she is a simple Graduate B.A Pass.

  6. Two wrongs don’t make one right. Whether it is nepotism and incompetence or stash funds.

    What about the Sindh Bank? Its foundation lies on money cleansing. And Punjab Bank? That wrote off billions to benefit its board few years ago.

  7. *The case of Arif USMANI*
    Here is a petition by few banker friends of mine. See below

    Victim of Media Trial

    We, the friends of Mr. Arif USMANI, President of NBP are deeply concerned at his mistreatment by the media. He was selected for this position after a global search. Mr. Usmani gave up a lucrative job in the Middle East to serve Pakistan. Recent newspaper reports of frivolous charges against him clearly indicate the malafide intent of vested interests. Mr. Usmani has built a name for himself over a 40 year career in Pakistan and globally. His Bsc degree from Imperial College London and his savings with Citi Trust overseas has been questioned ! He was a senior banker at Citigroup for 31 years. He earned well and has kept his money overseas and for the record he had declared all his assets overseas on joining NBP ! So what is this media trial about ?

    Here is a man who came back to serve his country. He has provided all the evidence necessary to clear his good name and the media must issue a public apology. That is not only the correct and decent thing to do for Mr. Usmani, but for all those overseas Pakistanis who want to come back to contribute to their country.

    Look forward to your forwarding this message to the relevant social channels to help stop this harassment immediately.

    Behram Ahmed, Kamran siddiqui, Maruf Ahmed, Aman siddiqui, Azam Mohammed, Nadir Dubash, Zain Majidulla, Jamshed safdar, Nadeem Lodhi, Ali Hasnain, Muzaffar Khwaja, Mustansir Husssin, Hasan Chandoo, Zouhair Khaliq, Agha Jan Akhtar, Asad Hamid, Amir Rahim, Tahir Masood, mohsin Hafeez, Sheheryar Ali

  8. This is exactly the dilemma of overseas Pakistanis who take the courageous step of coming back to the country to save the nation. Arif Usmani’s reputation in most countries including Saudi Arabia wad impeccable . He was seen as one of the best competent , capable and courageous Bank risk officer in KSA . He had a great reputation and we in the expatriate community applauded his move to take this job to try clean up one of the most corrupted Bank in Pakistan .
    I am sure the corrupt political and business Mafias affected by his efforts want him out as he is trying to clean up very dirty stables . I hope that he
    has the courage to stick it out and not be detracted from his mission .

  9. I have known Arif Usmani for the last 31 years as a colleague and a professional. He is a man of impeccable integrity and exemplary courage. He left a lucrative international career and went back to Pakistan to serve the country and give something back. It is so unfortunate that a person if his caliber and integrity is being subjected to this ordeal. Knowing Arif, I am sure that he has taken on the inept and the corrupt in NBP which has resulted in this sinister campaign against him. May God give him the strength to deal with these enemies of the state and the people and I am sure that truth will prevail in the end.

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