NBP President in hot waters as media poses allegations of owning off-shore assets worth billions
Here is what we know so far.
Recently, allegations against the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Arif Usmani started to surface on media platforms. Sources alleged that Usmani is concealing his offshore assets. These allegations shook Pakistan’s financial world and triggered a major debate.
A media outlet reported:
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has begun investigating Arif Usmani for his alleged offshore assets worth billions of rupees.
The media outlet cited its sources and alleged:
The NBP president has stashed assets worth $11,481,440 (PKR1.8 billion) in Citi Trust, Jersey. However, when questioned about the matter, Usmani denied all charges while conversing with the media outlet.
While many criticized the NBP President for this deed, the former Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Shabbar Zaidi vouched for Usmani and said:
As former Senior Partner of AF Ferguson & Co and former Chairman FBR, it is my responsibility to agitate public debate on the personal tax of Mr. Arif Usmani, President NBP. It destroys the faith in our tax system and, resultantly, Pakistan. Arif Usmani is an honorable man. Save Pakistan.
As former Senior Partner of A F Ferguson & Co and former Chairman FBR It my responsibility to agitate public debate on personal tax of Mr Arif Usmani President NBP. It destroys the faith on our tax system and resultantly Pakistan. AU is an honourable man. Save Pakistan.
— SyedShabbarZaidi (@SShabbarZaidi) January 4, 2021
A group of several other Pakistani businessmen and professionals also came out in support of Arif Usmani. Expressing deep concern over the media’s mistreatment of the NBP President, they stated:
He is the President of the NBP, the largest bank in Pakistan, and was selected for this position after a global search for the person with the caliber, competency, and integrity that is essential for such a position.
They continued to state:
The recent newspaper reports of unsubstantiated charges against Usmani are at worst ill-intentioned attempts to besmirch his impeccable reputation or, at best unthinking actions of less than thoughtful persons.
The businessmen group further stated that Usmani had built a name for himself over a forty-year career in Pakistan and many other countries. Building into this argument, they said:
He is a highly respected senior banker at Citigroup, where the bank rewarded him financially for 31 years of outstanding service in Pakistan and across the globe.
Talking about Usmani’s offshore assets, the businessmen community expressed:
Having worked most of his career outside Pakistan, Usmani, like other overseas Pakistanis, kept his income where they were, internationally. It is nonsensical to feign surprise that he was paid for his employment overseas and to assume instead that there must have been wrong-doing in having saved money for himself and his family.
Addressing the media, the businessmen group said:
Instead of launching and publicizing an investigation, the correct thing to have done was to have simply asked him, and he would have answered and clarified that there is no wrong-doing.
Backing up the NBP President, the businessmen explained:
No doubt he (Usmani) will provide all the evidence necessary to clear his good name. Then the newspapers and agencies who have besmirched his reputation must issue a public apology. That is not only the correct and decent thing to do for Usmani but for thousands of overseas Pakistanis who want to come back to contribute to their country.
The business community concluded their statement by urging the Prime Minister and Planning and Finance Ministers to look into this matter. Indeed, time will tell what is the real truth in this regard.
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