Supreme Court gives last warning else serious consequences

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Supreme Court gives last warning else serious consequences

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday gave last warning to companies and individuals accused of having billions of rupees worth of loans written off illegally, to return the money to the national exchequer or face consequences. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu case against illegal waivers of bank loans by influential persons and companies. During the course of of hearing, the chief justice remarked that the nation was burdened with huge debt. They had no right to occupy the office if they failed to bring back the nation’s wealth, he added. The Additionally Attorney General (AAG) informed the bench that out of 222 only 39 persons had availed the apex court's offer and deposited back the written off amount to the national kitty. The chief justice observed that those who did not avail the opportunity, would regret as the court would take strict action against them. The apex court had earlier given options to the companies and individuals to return only 75 per cent of the outstanding loan amounts while waiving interest as per a formula suggested by Justice Muneeb Akhtar, or contest their cases in banking courts.

In case the banking courts gave verdicts against the companies, they would have to pay the full amount of their loans and in case of failure to do so, they could go to jail, the CJP had warned. The CJP while giving the eight weeks to the respondents to repay their loans, adjourned the case for an indefinite period. Neither banks nor any financial department had claimed the written off loans, therefore, the amounts would would be deposited in the dams fund, he added. It may be added that soon after the October 2002 elections, the then finance minister Shaukat Aziz and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) officials had approved the loan write-off scheme and subsequently the SBP had issued the BPD Circular 29 of 2002 containing guidelines in that regard.

The SBP had offered an incentive scheme advising the the banks and development finance institutions (DFIs) to waiving the loans of organizations showing “loss” for three years. On February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered making public a 2,200-page report compiled by one of its former judges, Syed Jamshed Ali Shah, as head of a three-member commission to probe written off bank loans worth billions of rupees from 1971 to 2009. According to the report, the total amount of waived loans over the past four decades was Rs 87 billion, the major chunk of Rs 84.621 billion was written off between 1992 and 2009 and Rs 2.3billion from 1971 to 1991. - APP