Country’s e-commerce turns into digital trap
Golam Mostafa Jibon : As the e-commerce is gaining popularity and dependency across the world, it has now turned into a digital trap for Bangladeshi people due to continuous fraudulent activities by some e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Lack of proper monitoring and appropriate law in this regard is the main reason behind the current mess situation over the country’s e-commerce.
Though, the government has announced to form a separate regulatory body for e-commerce, it is difficult to say how far away the implementation of the initiative, expert said.
Sources said, fraud incidents of several multi-level marketing (MLM) company including Destiny, Jobok and UnipetuU have come under discussion in the last one and half decade. But, no good news for the victims has heard so far due to mysterious role of the government.
According to the sources, several organizations with various attractive names like Destiny, Jobok,UnipetuU, Evaly and Sirajganjshop.com swindled thousands of crores of Taka from the people showing the temptation to become millionaires from zero.A large part of the swindled money has already been siphoned abroad.
In the last few years, at least 15 companies have swindled thousands of crores of Taka in the name of selling products with the temptation of lucrative discounts in the name of e-commerce business. The owners of some companies have fled the country with large sums of money.
Various co-operative societies have also embezzled huge sums of money by changing the type of fraud.
Over the past six months of this year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and various intelligence agencies have jointly monitored and identified such 54 organizations in the country. These companies have swindled more than Tk 17,000 crore from more than 6 million customers and laundered these abroad.
Youths especially women of several ages were highly involved in these scams. Many of them were involved with several fraudulent organizations like Destiny and Jobokearlier.
Destiny-2000 Limited, Youth Employment Society or Jubok and UnipetuU have set up the largest example in the history of the country by looting customers’ money after alluring huge profits.
Of them, there are allegations of embezzling Tk 4,119.24 crore against the owners and officials of Destiny-2000 Limited. The Youth Employment Society-Jubokhas grabbed Tk 2,600 crore from 3.4 lakh customers by showing greed of huge profits.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case alleging embezzlement and laundering of Tk 6,000 crore invested by 6 lakh people in the so-called Multilevel Marketing Company (MLM) UnipetuU in 2011 with the hope of doubling its profits in 10 months.
In 2013, the ICL group misappropriated Tk 3,000 crore from around 5 lakh customers by showing greed for extra profit. Later, the main entrepreneurs including the managing director (MD) of the group fled with huge sums of money leaving behind 13 companies.
In the last one month, a number of online MLM companies have disappeared with hundreds of crores of Taka from a huge number of customers. These includedInsaf Seven, Two-Like, Goldrush, Gold Line, Bindaswork.com, BD Like, IfordBD, Geones, Like HMP World, Two-Like Web, BD Cash Rewards, Stars Fair24.com, Walmart Group, GSC and Rolex Global. Besides, some 266 co-operative societies have been disappeared with about Tk 4,100 crore since 2008. Most of the money has been laundered, according to various sources.
Ehsan Group misappropriated Tk 110 crore by tempting customers and members of the association alluring to make huge profits in a short time.
Meanwhile, severalinvestigation reports of law enforcement agencies have revealed that Mohammad Russell, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Evaly, who came to the talks with offers of all the glamorous products, has siphoned around Tk 100 crore to several countries. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has already started working on the issue of money laundering.
According to the investigation, Russellwent abroad about 11 times since its establishment. His main purpose in going abroad was to introduce Evaly to commercial establishments in other countries so that they can easily deliver the product to him. He has investment in multiple projects abroad. A friend of his helped him in this work. He used to bring mobile phones from China. Police have found out that the friend was involved in money laundering abroad through Hundi.
Law enforcers have found out several evidences of siphoning at least Tk 164 crore abroad in the name of e-commerce.
SPC World Express Ltd, sirajganjshop.com and Dhamakaare now under surveillance by several agencies including the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Some have already fled the country.
There is allegation that, Dhamaka has laundered Tk 116 crore after realizing from customers.
SPC World has siphoned Tk 1.17 crore, while sirajganjshop.com has misappropriated Tk 47.44 crore. Law enforcers are now working to bring Jasim Uddin Chishti, Chief of Dhamaka, Jewel Rana, owner and chief executive of Sirajganjshop.com,his close associate Masud Pervez and Mohammad Al-Amin, Chief of SPC World Express to book.
Among them, Chishti fled to the United States last July, while Jewel and Alamin are fugitives in the country. Earlier, Sohel Rana, one of the directors of e-Orange was detained by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) while fleeing the country with about Tk 1,100 crore.
Meanwhile, a reliable source of the CID said that, they have found evidence of money laundering behind the platforms of Dhamaka and SPC World Express. The CID filed cases under the Money Laundering Act against the two companies as the matter of money laundering was proved during the investigation.
A case was filed against six people including Dhamakar chief Chishti, at Banani police station. A case was filed against SPC chief Alamin at Kalabagan police station.
It has been found out that Jewel Rana, the owner of Sirajganjshop.com, has already swindled Tk 47.44 crore. A case was filed with the Banani police station recently on behalf of the mobile banking services company ‘Nagad’.
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