by Farooq Ahmed
GILGIT, Oct 31: The National Bank of Pakistan which advanced a loan of Rs50 million to Salim Khan, son of Northern Areas Chief Executive Ghazanfar Ali Khan, in his capacity as vice-chairman of the Silk Route Dry Port Trust, Sost, last year is facing problems in the recovery of the loan because the Chinese co-partners have disowned all responsibility in this connection.
The Chinese officials have demanded NBP to hold an inquiry how could such a loan be secured without their written consent and against mortgage of the port assets which was in contravention of the partnership deed.
A senior official of the NBP told Dawn that the matter of recovery of the loan was pending the settlement of the management dispute between the old management and the trustees of the port.
But since the dispute had now been settled by the Northern Area Chief Court by removing from office the old management in which Salim Khan was the vice-chairman and his father Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Chief executive of Northern Areas, Chairman, the bank was trying to figure out how to recover the loan as the Chinese partners claim ignorance about how the loan was obtained.
According to details, Salim Khan, former Vice-Chairman, Sost Dry Port Trust had obtained a loan of Rs50 million from the Sost branch of NBP on an application jointly signed by the former and the Chinese partner. But later the Chinese side disowned the signatures and claimed the papers used in obtaining the loan were not genuine and had been faked from other documents for the purpose. The Chinese side conceded the matter had been brought to them but they had opposed the loan and thought that the proposal must have been dropped. The loan came to their notice when they found an amount of Rs1.46 million deducted as mark-up in the port accounts. They immediately warned the NBP and were shocked to find the loan had been obtained despite their disapproval of the plan.
Salim Khan admits obtaining the loan but with the consent of the Chinese partners. He claims with documents showing the amount was utilised on development works on the port.The president of NBP had ordered probe into the matter when the Chinese disowned the loan. “Already one inquiry has been conducted at the behest of bank president and its recommendations are secret and now management audit is ongoing. So things would clear up shortly which party is at fault and why such huge amount was given as loan without assuring that papers are genuine”, the bank official told this correspondent.
The NBP officials think since one party admits having drawn the loan against mortgage and proper sureties, the bank reserves the right to adopt due procedures for recovery under the law.
It may be recalled that last August Mr Hou Enzu, Managing Director Pak-China Sust Port Company, had accused Salim Khan of obtaining Rs50 million loan from the NBP without the knowledge or consent of the Chinese side. In an official letter to Deputy Commissioner, Gilgit, Mr Hou Enzu had stated that Rs1.46 million were untraceable in the Joint Venture Account CA-880.5 of Pak-China Sost Port (PVT) Ltd., when he along with his colleague Mr Deng Xiaobin went to the bank and learned that the amount had been deducted as mark up on a Rs50 million loan. Bank record showed that Rs50 million had been transferred in October 2007 into the account of Silk Route Dry Port Trust.
Mr Hou Enzu said the Bank was told that the Chinese side had opposed the loan when a false resolution was submitted to them signed by seven directors of the Trust. They had refused to sign any paper for this purpose. Daily DAWN