Saturday, June 18, 2011

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) high-ups pay huge fees for lawyers to avoid Rs 2bn scam

The Supreme Court was informed Friday that the high-ups of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) gave millions of rupees to prominent lawyers, who appeared before the apex court in misuse and embezzlement of Rs 2 billions bank’s staff welfare fund.

Hashmat Habib, the counsel for office-bearers of Bank’s workers union argued before a three-member bench, headed by CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that the govt departments could not pay legal fee more than Rs 0.1 million to any lawyer without the prior approval of Ministry of Law and Justice. The learned lawyer said his petition had been pending in the apex court against charging of millions of rupees as fee by senior lawyers including Sharifuddin Peerzada in Pakistan Steel Mills corruption case. He requested the court to take up his case because these departments pay lawyers fees from public exchequer not from their own pockets.

At this, Hafeez Peerzada,the counsel for NBP exchanged harsh words with him. Mr Peerzada rejecting the allegation said he had never taken huge fees. He said he had voluntarily appeared in many case even without getting fee.

During the course of proceedings, the court expressed its annoyance over the FIA for not registering the cases against the alleged NBP officials who had misused the employees’ welfare fund. The court directed the FIA to proceed against the accused persons and submit report by June 23,2011.