Saudi Arabia recovers $106 Billion+ assets from Kings of Corruption

A LESSON FOR PAKISTAN

saudiking

Corporate Ambassador Monitoring Report/RIYADH

Saudi investigators have recovered assets worth more than $106 billion in an anti-corruption crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the royal court said on Wednesday. The funds are in the form of property, companies, cash and other assets surrendered by  senior princes, ministers and top businessmen who were under investigation.

In the anti-corruption campaign launched in November 2017, many of the Kingdom’s economic and political elite were detained in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel for nearly three months. The government summoned 381 people, although some appeared only as witnesses to give evidence.

A comprehensive review was conducted of the case against each of those detained, under the supervision of the Public Prosecutor, and each was presented with the allegations against them.

According to daily Arab News, the settlements were reached with 87 people who confessed to the charges against them, the royal court said.

The public prosecutor refused to settle the cases of 56 people because of existing criminal charges against them. Eight people refused to reach a settlement, and have been referred to public prosecution for further action under the law.

Everyone who was detained but not indicted on charges related to corruption has been released, the court said.

The anti-corruption committee set up by the crown prince submitted its report to King Salman on Wednesday. It said it had now completed its work, and asked for the king’s permission to cease operations.

The king agreed, and thanked the committee and the crown prince for their efforts.

King Salman pledged that the Kingdom would “continue its efforts to preserve integrity, combat corruption, and empower law enforcement and other relevant state bodies so that they are able to effectively practice their role in preserving public funds.”

NBP, Mobi-direct sign accord for digital payments

NBP-Mobi Direct big breakthrough for branchless banking and digital payments

nbp mobi1

KARACHI: The agreement was signed by Muhammad Farooq, EVP/Group Head, Payment Services & Digital Banking Group, National Bank of Pakistan and S. M Arif Director/Chief Business Architect Mobi Direct in presence of dignitaries from both sides, Mr. Tariq Jamali (2nd from right), President/CEO(A) NBP and Group Chief Shaukat Mahmood (extreme right) also participated in this important signing ceremony.

Corporate Ambassador/KARACHI: The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), in continuation of the two MoU’s signed with Mobi Direct in August 2018, has now signed a final agreement enabling it to become a consortium member and settlement bank for Mobi Direct’s digital payment switch. As a consortium member National Bank of Pakistan will be able to use Mobi Direct payment processing and transactions switching infrastructure and shared agent network for promoting nationwide branchless banking services to provide real growth to unbanked segment of population. Under the signed agreement NBP will act as a “Settlement Bank” for Mobi Direct’s digital payment system and for its Member Institutions (consortium members) and other stake holders like utility Cos, Public Institutions Telcos etc.

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A group photo of the senior officials of the National Bank of Pakistan and Mobi-Director after signing of final MoU on Wednesday in Karachi.

Mr. Tariq Jamali, President NBP on the occasion said that NBP would become a leading player in Pakistan’s Digital. He believes that this initiative is in line with NBP’s ambition to enhance the financial penetration in the country and is in line with the vision of State Bank of Pakistan for highlighting digital payments environment in Pakistan. He emphasized on achieving complete E- governance through this partnership which is the key to success for all types of businesses.

The NBP is assisting all the provincial governments in digitalizing their various payments, fee and taxes collection systems. He mentioned that the NBP has already inked MoUs and agreements with various provincial and federal departments for digitally collecting their fee and payments including Directorate General of Immigration & Passports, Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment, Public Service Commission KPK, Islamabad Traffic Police, Driving License Sindh and Dealer Vehicle Registration System (DVRS) and collection of e- Tax in Punjab.
Mr. Tariq Jamali further stated that after signing this agreement and other arrangements with Mobi Direct, NBP will be able to use the Mobi Direct payment processing and transactions switching infrastructure, online payment gateway and shared agent network for promoting nationwide branchless banking and digital payments services to provide real growth to unbanked segment of population.

NBP is working on developing systems for digitization of all G2P & P2G payments. NBP is playing a leading role in enhancing the financial inclusion by aligning with digital banking revolution in Pakistan. This will help in promoting Alternate Delivery Channels and enabling the right environment for inclusive growth and achieve the goal of financial inclusion. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Nawid Ahsan, Chairman, Mobi Direct, expressed his  gratitude to NBP’s team, which is taking a lead in becoming the settlement bank for Mobi-Direct payment processing & digital payment switch with a forward- looking approach in this collaboration. Mobi Direct being the leading PSO/PSP, Mr. Ahsan also showed his firm commitment that Banking Industry will take Pakistan to a new digital era, by partnering with PSO/PSPs. He said that the focus should be to work on the improvement and enhancement of both the rural and urban economy of Pakistan with the help of technology and make banking services affordable while being accessible for every citizen of Pakistan.
The agreement was signed by Muhammad Farooq, EVP/Group Head, Payment Services & Digital Banking Group, NBP and Mr. S. M Arif Director/Chief Business Architect Mobi Direct in presence of dignitaries from both sides. Mobi Direct (Pvt.) Limited is a State Bank of Pakistan licensed Payment Service Operator/Payment Service Provider (PSO/PSP) formed with the help of select group of professionals having expertise in diversified businesses, with the objective of assisting in developing an eco-system for digital payments and e- commerce which is not only enabling fulfillment of the digital banking needs of the banked populace but is also playing a significant role in the financial inclusion of the unbanked population especially in the rural economy.
Mobi Direct wants to empower every Pakistani to have the convenience of payment at their fingertips, enabling financial institutions and consumers to enjoy online payment facilities leveraging existing technology and telecom infrastructure plus adding vital components of technology and distribution network to meet the goals of digitization of the players in the economy. Mobi direct’ five distinct businesses are all associated with technology based financial services: Payment Gateway Services (Internet E-commerce Services) & Shared POS Acquiring Infrastructure for Banks to use Mobi Direct Infrastructure as

Member Banks for which Company has installed Payment Gateway and Hosting Infrastructure for the first time in Pakistan. Prominent features of Mobi Direct are; • Shared Agent Distribution Network for Banks already having Branchless Banking Licenses • Mobile Payment (Interoperable) SWITCH, allowing payment services for Mobile and Branchless Banking.
• Processing Facilities for Banking and Non-banking Institutions.
• Lite Retail infrastructure will further facilitate capturing of Micro Payments using mobile penetration making payments truly digital.

Gandapur lauds NBP’s role in elevating image, tourism of Pakistan

gandapur

Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD

Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur lauded the role of National Bank of Pakistan in elevating image and tourism of Pakistan. He said that the NBP’s efforts are part of the government’s strategy to promote positive image and tourism of Pakistan.

He stated this on Wednesday as Chief Guest at the signing ceremony of a MoU between the National Bank of Pakistan and Trek Pakistan to elevate image of Pakistan within the country and at international level. Karim Akram Khan, Group Head NBP Logistics, Adnan Afaq, Co-Creator of Pakistan Trek, Syed Ibne Hasan, VP of NBP Corporate Communication Division, Mahtab Siddiqui and others participated in this MoU signing ceremony that was arranged at the new regional office of NBP in Islamabad.

Federal Minister also pointed out that Tourism Police is being established to give security to the tourists that would help in promoting tourism and winning confidence of the tourists. He said that initially the Tourism Police is being started from Gilgit-Baltistan and later on it will be expanded to other parts of the country that have enormous potential of growth in tourism.

He said that the government would develop roads in tourists hot-spots in the country to attract more and more tourists. He pointed out that this year the number of tourists to KPK and Gilgit Baltistan will increase to two million because of initiatives being taken by the government to promote tourism in the country. He also urged the NBP to offer financial assistance to people in GB who are engaged in promotion of tourism to enable them to earn money, promote tourism and economic activity as well.

Earlier, the Group Head of Logistics of NBP Karim Akram Khan said that the topmost priority of the President of National Bank of Pakistan Mr Tariq Jamali is to promote image of Pakistan in the country and abroad. He said that concerted efforts should be made to show to beauty and positive image of Pakistan abroad. He said that people to people contact is essential to highlight the real image of Pakistan. He said that NBP is the largest public sector bank in Pakistan and it is geared to support the government’s initiatives to encourage in-ward tourism into the country. With its expansive outreach across the length of Pakistan and a management that is personally motivated to build a positive image of the country, National Bank is well positioned to provide support to such initiatives.

 

Meanwhile, Adnan Afaq, Co-Creator of the Pakistan Trek said that NBP and Route16 have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to improve the global image of the country. Route16, under the banner of Pakistan Trek, is inviting students from world’s top universities to visit Pakistan to see the true culture, beauty here with the aim to change the narrative of the country.

He pointed out that Pakistan Trek has been able to provide an insider’s view to more than 100 students over the last three years. Through short-term visits to Pakistan, current and emerging thought leaders are exposes to a variety of experiences firsthand and provided the opportunity to cultivate last relationships with their Pakistani counterparts. Pakistan Trek allows the students to build an understanding of the geopolitical nature of the country and its trials and tribulations.

 

Malaysia drops China-backed multi-billion dollars projects

mahathirmuhammad

Corporate Ambassador Monitoring Report/KARACHI

In a surprising move, Malaysia has dropped a multi-billion dollar China-backed rail project in Malaysia saying the cost of the project was too high. After victory of Mahathir Muhammad’s party in election, Malaysian government, led by Mahathir has suspended several major projects signed by the previous scandal-plagued regime, in a bid to cut reduce country’s colossal one trillion ringgit ($251 billion) debt.

Economics minister Azmin Ali said Malaysia made the decision two days ago on the 81 billion ringgit ($19.6 billion) east coast rail link (ECRL) that would have connected the eastern and western coasts of the peninsula.

mahathir

“The cost of the ECRL development is too big, so we have no financial ability at this time,” he told reporters.

He said that if the project was not terminated, Malaysia would have to pay an annual 500 million ringgit interest payment. Malaysia’s previous government under Prime Minister Najib Razak had warm ties with China and signed up to a string of Beijing-funded projects, Dawn.com reported today.

But critics say many of these deals lacked transparency, fuelling speculation they were made in exchange for help in paying off debts from a massive financial scandal involving state fund 1MDB. The scandal was a major factor in Najib’s shock electoral defeat in May last year that saw his former boss Mahathir Mohamad return to power.

Mahathir then ordered a review of mega-projects signed by Najib during his nine-year rule, adding he would discuss “unfair” terms supposedly set in these deals and high interest rates levied on Chinese loans used to finance the projects. Azmin did not say how much compensation Malaysia would have to pay for cancelling the project, adding it would be determined by the finance ministry.

Najib and his cronies were accused of plundering billions of dollars from 1MDB, with the former leader charged with corruption over the scandal. He will stand trial over these charges in February, and has denied any wrongdoing.

Stop business on military lands in Karachi: Supreme Court

wedding hall on army land

Corporate Ambassador/KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered an end to all kinds of business/commercial activities on military lands in Karachi. Hearing a case on Thursday in Karachi, the apex court directed the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to call a cabinet meeting to draw a plan to restore Karachi city according to its original master plan.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, hearing a case relating to the unlawful constructions in the city also expressed displeasure at the absence of the representatives of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Cantonment Board during today’s proceedings.

Only Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani and Advocate General for Sindh Salman Talibuddin were present in the supreme court. The court directed all the concerned secretaries to attend the cabinet meeting and ordered them to come up with a precise plan within two weeks to restore real look of the city. Justice Gulzar wondered why the armed forces and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) were running wedding halls and cinemas. Is it part of their job? he argued.

Justice Gulzar also observed that a wedding hall was functional near the Karachi airport, which had already been targeted for a terrorist attack in the past. He also observed that why a wedding hall, close to the Central Ordnance Depot, was being operated.

Meanwhile, according to Dawn.com, Justice Gulzar also asked why walls were being erected along main thoroughfares based on the wishes of an armed forces officer, who wishes to use them (the walls) to generate revenue from billboards.

“And, behind these walls, big buildings are being constructed,” he noted. “If they [the people involved] had their way, they would be constructing buildings on the streets.”

Rejecting a report presented by the Sindh government and Karachi Development Authority officials, Justice Gulzar lambasted provincial officials for “singing lullabies” for the court.

“This report of yours is of no use,” Justice Gulzar thundered. “If we passed an order on the basis of this report, your entire government will be sent reeling.”

“Don’t tell us bedtime stories,” Justice Gulzar censured the Sindh advocate general. “You do know AG sahab, what it means to sing someone lullabies? It means, ‘Listen to this lullaby and go to sleep’.”

“We are not here to be sung to sleep,” Justice Gulzar said.

“You have a good chief secretary (Mumtaz Ali Shah), and yet you have been able to achieve nothing,” he complained. The court ordered that the Sindh government’s report be submitted along with formal architectural plans and suggestions.

“Let me make it clear: This city will be restored to its original master plan,” Justice Gulzar asserted.

“Look at at what the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has done to the coastal strip,” he remarked.

“They have encroached so far into the sea that if they had their way, they would build another city on the sea itself.

“The owners of DHA will [then] encroach on the entire sea all the way to America and plant their flags there,” the judge commented.

“They are currently wondering how they can make inroads into India as well,” he added.

Court orders pub

NBP declares half-year profit on deposits

nbp ho image with new logo final

Corporate Ambassador/KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has declared half-yearly profit for the period July to December 2018, on deposits of Profit/Loss Sharing, NIDA, Term Deposits, Premium Aamdani Certificates, NBP PLS Plus Term Deposit Certificate and NBP Premium Saver Accounts. The NBP has paid 4.50% percent profit, 5.50 percent, 6.50 percent and 8 percent profit, respectively on saving and NIDA accounts for different period from July to December 2018.

Similarly, for the term deposits, the bank has paid 4.5% – 9.8% profit depending on maturity of the accounts that ranged from three months, six months, one year, two years, three years, four years and five years. National Bank of Pakistan has paid the highest rate of profit on term deposits having more than five years’ maturity period. The maximum rate of profit for such deposits was 9.80 percent per annum.

Meanwhile, NBP has paid 6.65 percent, 7.80 percent and 9 percent profit on NBP Premium Aamdani Certificate for one year maturity period while the certificates having two years to five years attracted the higher rate of return in 2018. The bank has paid the highest profit of 12 percent per annum on NBP Premium Aamdani Certificates in 2018 for five-year maturity.

The bank also paid annual profit rates with payment at maturity on NBP PLS Plus Term Deposit Certificate. The investment in NBP’s certificates ranged from 0.5 million to five billion rupees with one year to 10 years maturity period. The certificates with 10 years maturity attracted the highest rate of return of 11.80 percent, 15.50 percent and 18.50 percent for different periods of time from July-December 2018. It was the highest amount of profit that the National Bank of Pakistan has paid to deposits having 0.50 million to five billion rupees deposits.

However, as per product policy, NBP announced 5.50 percent to 9 percent profit for the NBP Premium Saver Accounts having deposits up to one million rupees while deposits having more amount than one million rupees received 4.50 percent to 8 percent profit depending on their maturity timeframe.

 

25 NBP officials selected thru balloting to perform Hajj in 2019 at bank’s expenses

NBP’s HAJJ BALLOTING-2019

nbp hajj balloting

President National Bank of Pakistan Mr Tariq Jamali is chairing a meeting to conduct Hajj Balloting today at NBP headoffice in Karachi in presence of senior NBP officers and representatives of union.

Corporate Ambassador/KARACHI:National Bank of Pakistan(NBP)  conducted Hajj-2019 Balloting today in which 25 employees (regular/contractual) were selected. The lucky NBP officials include (5 executives, up to VP, 10 Officers up to Grade-I and 10 Clerical/Non-Clerical staff members) who will perform Hajj this year at Bank’s expenses.

President, National Bank of Pakistan Mr. Tariq Jamali/CEO, presided over the Hajj Balloting ceremony along with other executives of the Bank. A large number of the representatives of unions and NBP Officers Welfare Associations were also present on the occasion.

On this occasion, Mr. President Tariq Jamali congratulated all the 25 lucky employees who were declared Successful in the balloting and said that they were blessed by the Almighty Allah to perform “Fareezah Hajj”. He urged them to pray for the prosperity of the Bank and the country while visiting the holy places.

 

Bahria Town’s new offer of Rs 315 billion for Karachi’s land rejected

Justice Khosa

Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD

Supreme Court of Pakistan today once again turned down 315 billion rupees offer of Bahria Town for regularization of illegal land in Karachi. Bahria Town made this offer in today’s hearing, but the apex court rejected it while directing the legal counsel of Bahria Town to submit revised offer. It means, apex court wants Bahria Town to pay more for Karachi’s land.

Last week Bahria Town had offered to deposit Rs 250 billion in the apex court’s dam fund to settle legal proceedings for illegally acquiring land for its projects in Karachi, Islamabad and Murree, but the Supreme Court of Pakistan turned down this massive offer. Today the Bahria Town submitted the revised offer of 315 billion rupees just for Karachi’s land, but the supreme court turned down it, deeming it much below the value of the land.

A three-judge implementation bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, gave remarks today while hearing the case pertaining to the implementation of the May 4, 2018 Supreme Court verdict against the Bahria Town Karachi project. The implementation bench had been formed after the court had discarded review petitions filed against its May 4,2018 judgement.

In the May 4 judgment, the court had declared that the grant of land to the Malir Development Authority (MDA) and its subsequent swap with land owned by Bahria Town was illegal and void. It had also directed NAB to continue its probe into the business practices employed by the developer.

Today, while terming the housing society’s settlement offer to regularise the land it is currently in possession of ‘unsatisfactory’, the bench asked Bahria Town to reconsider it.

Justice Azmat Saeed stated that in 2014, the court had set Rs225bn as the amount to be paid in order to legalise 7,000 acres of land. If one marks that up by 40 per cent [to account for inflation, other factors], the number comes up to Rs315b.

Then Ali Zafar, lawyer of Bahria Town said that his client is ready to pay Rs315b in return for the legalisation of [all] 16,896 acres of land that are disputed and that Bahria Town cannot pay more than Rs350 billion.

The Supreme Court, however, turned down this offer and said that the

Rs 315 billion is the price that Bahria Town should pay for 7,068 acres of land only while BT’s request to settle all 16,896 acres of land, to the amount the Supreme Court had fined it (Rs225bn) for possessing 7,000 acres in 2014 is unjustified.

Justice Azmat said: “We’re not haggling over tomatoes here”.

To this, the lawyer said his client was in a fix and was simply trying to find a way out of the matter. The defendant’s lawyer then made a final offer of Rs358b.

However, the bench said it would hear the federal and Sindh governments as well as NAB on the matter before ruling on it in the next hearing.

During the proceedings, the court also expressed displeasure on the difference in land allocation maps presented to it by the Surveyor General of Pakistan (SGP), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Bahria Town. The SGP was ordered to submit a report on the matter within two weeks.

Worth to note is that last week the counsel of Bahrian Town first offered 200 billion rupees to settle this case and then increased the offer to 250 billion rupees when the supreme court rejected the offer. The implementation bench of the Supreme Court took up for hearing a case pertaining to the implementation of May 4, SC verdict against Bahria Town in which the apex court had barred Bahria Town Karachi from selling any plot or constructed apartment in the housing scheme on the outskirts of the port city, declaring the grant of land to the Malir Develop­ment Authority and its exchange with the land of the private land developers illegal.

Justice Azmat Saeed, the head of three-member bench, reminded the counsel that a fine of Rs285 billion had been imposed on Bahria Town in 2004 and if fine money is increased by 40 per cent, the payable amount will surge to 300 billion rupees. Justice Saeed observed that three separate verdicts had been passed against Bahria Town, so it should make separate and reasonable offers for its projects in Karachi, Islamabad and Murree.

Justice Saeed Azmat rejected both offers _ 200 billion and 250 billion rupees by Bahria Town and said that the court can ask the National Accountability Bureau to file a reference in this case. However, the Bahria Town counsel has sought one week’s time to file a reply. Justice Saeed granted the plea and directed Bahria Town to submit written offers in all the three cases.

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Pakistan leads with 681,392 Umra Visas in Jan 2019

Khana Kaaba

Corporate Ambassador Monitoring Report/JEDDAH: Pakistanis have outnumbered all other Muslim countries in performing Umrah in first few weeks of Jan 2019. The number of Umrah visas issued in Jan 2019 has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to weekly data issued by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry of Saudi Arabia. The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah. Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.

Over 19 million performed Umrah in 2017

More than 19 million pilgrims have performed Umrah in 2017 according to a report by Saudi Arabia’s General Statistics Authority. The statistics released as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 contain numbers of pilgrims who took part in Umrah from within Saudi Arabia and abroad last year, as well as other figures based on records by the Hajj and Umrah ministry.

Through this report, the kingdom aims to establish a database on the pilgrims visiting the Kingdom to perform Umrah in a bid to help decision makers implement regulations that serve pilgrims and aid their Umrah process. Statistics have shown that 19,079,306 pilgrims have performed Umrah in 2017. Among these were 6,532,074 pilgrims who came from abroad, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah records. While those who performed domestic Umrah from Saudis and non Saudis were 12,547,232, based on the authority’s survey.

The percentage of Saudi pilgrims was 46.9%, and non-Saudi pilgrims from inside the kingdom was 53.1%. The percentage of domestic Umrah pilgrims were 46.3% males and 37.7% females. Results also have shown that the month of Ramadan is the most popular time of the year pilgrims choose to perform Umrah. The percentage of pilgrims who carried Umrah during Ramadan last year was 53.6% of the total pilgrims.

The King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah recorded the highest percentage of pilgrims arrival from overseas, around 62.5%. While Umrah pilgrims who arrived in Emir Mohamad bin Abdel Aziz Airport in Madinah was 25.7%.

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