NMC's hospitals and clinics are at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic. But for some officials, it is time to take a flight out. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The NMC Health saga has taken another turn with a top official in its finance department heading out of the UAE using the repatriation flights to India. The family members too joined him on the flight.

This raises two questions. The repatriation flights were meant for those in dire need, those who suffered job losses and no longer have the funds to remain in the UAE, those here on visit visas and need to return, the aged and the young who had come over to study.

“How can someone holding one of the most senior management roles at NMC get on this flight?” said one member of the staff at the Abu Dhabi headquartered hospital operator. “Not just him but his entire family of six managed to do so – even as others in perilous financial positions are still waiting for a seat on the flight. The reason they gave, apparently, was a death in the family.

But how can all six in the family be allowed on these flights and for this reason? That too the first one out of the UAE - the May 7 flight from Abu Dhabi to Kochi. The Indian Government should investigate how these tickets are being issued – and who’s responsible for such lapses.”

‘Gulf News’ tried to reach out to spokespersons at NMC Health, but could not get any clarification on why Suresh Krishnamurthy has left the country right now. And whether he proceeded as part of an emergency leave. And if yes, when he is likely to return. (Krishnamurthy had also held the position of CFO.)

‘Gulf News’ tried speaking to an official in the Indian Embassy, which is overseeing the repatriation flights, but has not received any response.

But there are many in Indian business and social circles who wonder how this was allowed, and by extension, hits the credibility of the Indian government sponsored flights.

Banking sources are incensed

That NMC Health allowed its most senior finance department official to leave caught banking industry sources on the wrong foot. More so, as they believe Krishnamurthy needs to be in the country to get to the facts of how NMC managed to pile up $6.6 billion in debts, and of which $4 billion plus never landed up in the books until recently.

“All the other senior management guys at NMC Health have disappeared from the UAE – all the more reason Suresh should have remained in the UAE,” said a banker. “It’s becoming a joke.”

A similar thing happened at NMC’s “sister” company Finablr – the CEO put in his papers, was given a glowing certificate of appreciation by the Board of Directors and was even “invited” to join a successor.

Then, only a week ago, Finablr, which is the owner of UAE Exchange Centre, said it has stumbled on $1.3 billion in bank loans that never got into the company’s books.

Do the maths – a combined $5.7 billion of UAE bank money being routed through two companies and only a few knowing about it.

In the case of NMC Health, charges have been filed against six persons, including shareholders. The UAE Central Bank is conducting investigations into UAE Exchange Centre.

But in the meantime, customers of UAE Exchange suffer – there are still those waiting for their hard earned money to reach the intended accounts.