The board of directors of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has granted an extension of service to two executive vice presidents (EVPs) including a divisional agriculture head, who has allegedly been involved in hiding Rs1 billion worth of bad loans from the top management. The board gave the extensions following recommendations from the bank management that kept the board in the dark about the past conduct of EVP Shaharyar Qaisarani, according to sources in NBP. The board has extended the service contract of Qaisarani, also the Divisional Head of Agriculture and Business Development Division, for one year. Similarly, the service contract of Shahjehan Khan , the divisional head, has been extended for two years. The extension granted to Khan raises questions about the bank’s succession and rotation policies. These extensions have caused resentment among those who are waiting for a promotion. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has passed a judgment in which it has stopped the grant of contract extensions in cases where the right to promotion of other officers is encroached upon. The issue highlights prevailing nepotism in the state-owned bank that has started eroding its profitability. Recently, the State Bank of Pakistan has also warned that the financial condition of NBP is gradually deteriorating, stemming mainly from persistent weaknesses in corporate governance practices and its systems and controls. According to the sources, Qaisarani, as the head of the Agriculture Division, did not report Rs1 billion classified loans in the Hyderabad region in 2012. He was allegedly involved in window dressing to show higher profits, they added. About three dozen branches, working under Qaisarani, concealed bad loans. These were situated in Mirpurkhas, Kunri, Omarkot, Shahdadpur, Sanghar, Nawabshah and Tando Adam. NBP had sought explanation from these 34 branches. It also suspended General Manager Agriculture Finance Abdul Latif Shahani , but exonerated Qaisarani, the sources said. While recommending the board to give one-year extension to Qaisarani, the NBP management did not inform it about the concealment of bad loans. Talking to The Express Tribune , a senior official of the board confirmed that Qaisarani had faced an allegation but it was dropped after an inquiry ordered by the previous president of the bank. He said the matter was resolved at the branch level and the management did not inform the board while seeking the extension. He said the board had powers to prolong services of any officer for certain time period, thus, there was nothing unlawful. Being the divisional head, it was the responsibility of Qaisarani to examine the accounts every month, a task he could not perform, according to the sources. Past misdeeds NBP Acting President Asif Hasan has also been accused in the past of protecting corrupt officials of the bank, according to internal audit reports for 2002 and 2003. He had been accused of protecting Imran Saeed , a bank official, who had been involved in claiming fake bills and bogus procurement. Saeed was said to be the personal aide of Hasan, according to the audit reports. At that time, Hasan was serving as senior executive vice president and heading the bank’s Hong Kong operations. Not only this, Usman Aziz , the then senior vice president of NBP, had accused Hasan of claiming fake travel allowances and misappropriation of bank assets, according to the NBP record.
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