ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has agreed to allow the audit of its pension payments and related files and data on the directions of Senate Standing Committee on Finance to verify reports about ghost pensioners who are allegedly drawing pensions from the national exchequer.
The bank has issued a circular to inform its employees about its decision and the audit teams have already started working in various branches of the bank in Islamabad.
“Yes we have issued a circular after seeking opinion from the State Bank and getting legal opinion from the senior councils on the issue,” Nausherwan Adil, the Group Chief Operations at the NBP told The News on Oct 5.
He said the legal opinion was obtained to avoid violation of any legal and regulatory provisions, as banks all over the world maintain secrecy about their account holders to protect their rights.
“After consultation with the State Bank we have decided to allow the audit. We have each and every file of the pensioners from various departments and auditors are being given access to this information under the directions of the Standing Committee”.
He clarified that the AGP is not conducting a general audit of the bank and some media reports have wrong given the impression that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed the AGP to conduct general audit of NBP.
The NBP circular No OPG/Pension/1410, a copy of which is available with The News says: “NBP has been advised to allow the Audit General of Pakistan (AGP) to conduct a limited and specific audit of pension payments and related files/data only. It may also be noted that this is not an overall audit of the bank, rather only audit of pension payments of the AGP as advised by our legal council since otherwise it will attraction section 33-A of the Banking Companies Ordinance 1962(BCO). No data other then pension payments shall be shared with the audit team.”
When contacted by The News, the Auditor General of Pakistan Rana Asad Amin said the AGP will soon conduct the general audit of the NBP as per the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“We have spoken to the top management of the bank and they have assured us to cooperate in this regard,” Rana Asad said.
He said previously the NBP had obtained a stay order from the Sindh High Court against its audit by AGP but the management is now willing to withdraw the case after the approval of its board. The bank has been conveyed. The National Bank’s name is included in the list.
He said the AGP is conducting audit of the pensioners to check the number of ghost government employees who are reportedly withdrawing pensions from the bank.
“We don’t want the account details of these employees. We just need to know the names of those getting pension from the national exchequer and the amount of pension they are receiving per month so that we can differentiate between genuine and fake pensioners,” he said.
Rana Asad said AGP teams are conducting audit of government departments in all four provinces and Azad Kashmir to ascertain the number of ghost government employees.
Published by Daily The News on Oct 6, 2015