President holds NBP responsible for maladministration in bank fraud case
Islamabad (VOM) : President Dr Arif Alvi has held the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) responsible for wrongdoing and maladministration in a case where an innocent and illiterate customer was swindled out of Rs 1 million by a branch manager while depositing the amount in the bank. He directed NBP to refund the defrauded amount along with any interest to the customer and held that the Senior Management of NBP had failed to fulfil its responsibility of appointing vigilant, honest and professional bank officials at the branch.
The President gave these orders while accepting a representation of Mr Ashiq Hussain (the complainant), a resident of Abbottabad, against the decision of Wafaqi Mohtasib (WM) wherein it had held that the customer had also committed lapses while depositing his money with the manager, who later fraudulently withdrew the amount from customer’s account. The Mohtasib refused to provide relief to the complainant on the ground that he had handed over the cash to the Bank Manager instead of the cashier and the receipts were signed by only the Bank Manager instead of being signed by both the manager and the cashier as per the required procedure. Mr Hussain felt aggrieved with the decision of WM and filed a representation with the President.
The President accepted the representation and held that it was the responsibility of the Bank Manager to complete the formalities as per banking practice and not of the complainant. He said that the bank was the custodian and trustee of the hard-earned money of the accountholders and it had breached that trust by failing to perform its fiduciary duty of appointing professional and honest officials.
The President highlighted that the manager had a very important role to be performed and its basis was the creation of a relationship of trust and confidence, which resulted in fiduciary duty. He said that the breach of such duty undoubtedly reflects upon the very credibility of the Bank and also puts the customers in a disadvantageous and risky position. “The officials were in service of the bank and there was unimpeachable evidence of the commission of fraud by the bank officials within the bank branch as was indicated by the stamp and signatures on receipts”, he observed.
The President held that the Bank could not escape the liability in a case of this kind when the commission of fraud with the accountholder by its management had been established and admitted and further directed NBP to implement his orders and report compliance to WM Secretariat within 60 days.