Industry Desk: Bangladesh Bank (BB) has sent letters to three banks instructing them to release over Tk56.85 crore stuck in the accounts registered in the name of payment gateway Foster.
The move aims to refund the customers of controversial e-commerce platform Qcoom who did not receive their products even after paying in advance. The central bank on Sunday sent the letters to the managing directors (MD) of Bank Asia, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), and First Security Islami Bank Limited (FSIBL) asking them to take necessary steps to release the amount.
The money, collected as payments from Qcoom customers via Mobile different MFS providers, was deposited in three of the concerned banks in the name of payment gateway company Foster Corporation.
According to BB, around Tk29.49 crore is stuck in Bank Asia’s Gulshan branch, Tk15 crore in Islami Bank’s Badda branch, and over Tk12.36 crore is stuck in FSIBL’s Gulshan branch.
The BB directive was issued in line with the decision taken by the Ministry of Commerce recently in this regard, the BB letters further read.
Earlier on 24 January, 20 Qcoom customers got refunds of Tk40 lakh after the government stepped in to recover some of its blocked funds.
The refunds were made through Islami Bank at a function at the commerce ministry.
The amounts were drawn from the online shopping platform’s account with the payment gateway service Foster Payments following the central bank’s instructions.
The recipients are the first of 6,721 customers on a list compiled by Foster and Qcoom; they had ordered products worth Tk59 crore.
All the customers on the list are expected to get their money back in the next few days, had said Tapan Kanti Ghosh, senior secretary to the commerce ministry.
At the programme, he said the government was working on how to return payments to all online shoppers who have not got their products from various e-commerce platforms after paying the prices in advance.
According to the BB, Tk214 crore was stuck in payment gateways till 14 October last year since the launch of escrow on 30 June that year. Of the amount, Tk166 crore was deposited by Qcoom customers. Qcoom has another Tk231 crore stuck in Foster’s accounts.
The commerce ministry had instructed Qcoom and Foster to prepare the list of aggrieved customers and the two companies initially made a list of 6,721 customers and sought more time for enlisting the remaining such customers.
None among Qcoom, Foster, and the commerce ministry has an accurate account of how many more customers have not received products after making advance payment.
In addition to Tk397 crore stuck with Foster, goods worth Tk100 crore are in the warehouse of Qcoom, which were bought against orders from buyers but were not delivered.
According to the BB’s Financial Intelligence Unit, Qcoom, in its six accounts, had Tk790 crore, paid by customers.
The suspended accounts currently have a deposit of Tk2.97 crore as the company withdrew the rest.
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