Home Bank & Finance Hundi business running at 30 airport bank booths
Bank & Finance - World wide - March 24, 2024

Hundi business running at 30 airport bank booths

Foreign currency openly trading

Rabiul Haque : Illegal hundi business of huge amount is going on openly in the bank booths of the airport. Some officers and employees of the bank are involved in this illegal business. Behind this is a huge syndicate of hundi traders.
Anti-corruption commission has recently conducted an undercover operation at the capital’s Shahjalal International Airport. The ACC’s investigation has revealed the names of more than 50 officers and employees of 30 bank booths and money exchanges at Shahjalal Airport involved in hundi business. ACC is preparing a case against them. They will be summoned for questioning soon. According to ACC sources, this information is known.
According to sources, thousands of expatriate workers and foreign passengers enter Bangladesh through the airport every day. Many passengers from abroad exchange foreign currency for local currency (Taka) at the bank booths at the airport after passing through immigration. Again, foreign travelers collect foreign currency by paying money. The amount of currency exchange at Shahjalal airport alone is more than 5 crore rupees daily.
Foreign Currency Encashment Voucher As per law, rules and regulations, the encasher’s name, identity and passport number are to be recorded and the voucher issued. But money changers are exchanging foreign currency without issuing vouchers, with fake vouchers or with unsigned vouchers or with fake vouchers without officer’s signature created in Excel. 100 is collected from customers for each TM Voucher but it is not credited to the bank. Currency purchased through non-bank funds is being sold instead of currency held in banks. As a result, it is not deposited as bank principal. In this, the foreign exchange is going under the control of the syndicate. Later this currency is smuggled abroad through hundi or sold in the open market for more money. The country is suffering from it.
Those concerned say that the expatriates return to the country and exchange the foreign currency with them at the bank booth at the airport and take local currency. It doesn’t matter to them whether the voucher is given or not, valid or invalid while exchanging. Because they look forward to returning to their loved ones. Syndicates involved with bank booths at the airport took advantage of this opportunity.
In November last year, the report on hundi business at the bank booth at Shahjalal Airport was published by the Times. ACC formed an inquiry committee in February this year taking the issue into consideration. The committee conducted an investigation in Shahjalal under disguise and found evidence of illegal buying and selling of foreign currency by the officials working in the bank booths and money exchanges there. The inquiry committee submitted a report based on the information found in the inquiry. The investigation showed that it is mandatory to declare to the customs if foreign currency is brought from abroad more than 20 thousand dollars or equivalent currency. That is why many passengers convert foreign currency into domestic currency without vouchers with the connivance of airport bank and money exchange officials without giving proper declaration. Apart from this, 100 grams of Guinea gold of 22 carats imported from abroad does not have to pay tax. However, any gold bars above 100 grams of Guinea gold and any other gold bars are subject to tax. Usually expatriates who bring gold from abroad do not have local currency. As a result, they paid the tax to the customs by taking local money in exchange for foreign currency from the money exchange booth to pay the additional gold tax. Customs collects at least 2 to 3 crore rupees per day for gold tax. However, taking advantage of the mental weakness of these expatriates, unscrupulous officials and employees of money exchange houses and bank booths exchange currency without vouchers and without entry. Daily amounting to at least 3 crore rupees. Later this foreign currency is illegally sold to other money exchange houses in the country at high prices.
According to ACC’s investigation, foreign currency is bought and sold 24 hours a day at the booths of banks and money exchange houses at Shahjalal Airport. While there is an obligation to show passports and keep proper accounts through vouchers for buying and selling foreign currency at the airport, most of the banks and money exchange booths are not complying with it.
ACC investigative members try to buy and sell foreign currency without passports and vouchers by posing as buyers and sellers. In that case, the officers-employees in charge at the booths of banks and money exchanges are without vouchers and agree to buy at a price lower than the exchange rate set by the government and sell at a higher price. Apart from this, evidence of purchase and sale of foreign currency through unsigned and unsigned fake vouchers at the booths of Janata Bank, Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Pubali Bank, Yamuna Bank, Pravasi Kalyan Bank and other banks and Avia Money Exchange and Imperial Money Exchange booths. found
In most of the vouchers, it is mandatory to fill in the passport number, name, nationality, receiver’s signature, but some of them do not have the passport number, some of them do not have the authority’s signature, and some of them do not have the receiver’s signature.
The investigation also revealed that several money exchanges, including airport money exchange agencies Aviar Money Exchange and Imperial Money Exchange, are playing a leading role in illegal foreign currency trading.
Money exchange houses send an exchange rate of foreign currency to WhatsApp daily, which is usually slightly higher than the bank exchange rate. Bank officials use bank funds to purchase non-voucher foreign currency from expatriates at or below the bank’s fixed rate and sell it to the money exchange for a profit. After the sale, he reconciled the bank’s funds from the money received and kept the dividend in his own pocket.
Asadul Hossain, brother of Avia Money Exchange boss Saidul Hossain, confessed to ACC members about buying foreign currency from bank officials.
Asadul said that the higher rate than the exchange rate of the bank was sent to the bank officials on WhatsApp every day on behalf of Avia Money Exchange. After collecting the foreign currency, they used to go to the Avia money exchange booth on the second floor and the office on the third floor to bring Bangladeshi money with the foreign currency. Avia Money Exchange used to sell these foreign currencies at higher prices to Voyager Money Exchange, Zaman Money Changing House, Vijay Money Exchange, Ismail Money Exchange and other money exchange houses.
It is reported that Janata Bank Airport Branch Officer Abu Noor Mohammad Faisal (currently working at the Head Office), Manik, Sujan, Noor, Amit, Suzeb, Sadek, Sonali Bank Airport Branch Officer Samiul, Ashiq, Sajjad, Tanveer, Mostafa, Sabuj, Shariful, Kamrul, Shaon, Agrani Bank Airport Branch Officer Abdur Razzak, Md. Shahidul Islam, Osman, Md. Zafar Iqbal, SA Enamul Kabir, Employee working at 4 booths of Mutual Trust Bank (MTB), Principal Officer, Janata Bank Airport Branch (Present Posting-Local Office, Janta Bank) Shamim Ahmed, Senior Officer (Present Posting-Local Office, Janta Bank) Md. Suruj Jamal, Senior Officer (Present Posting-Local Office, Janata Bank) Md. Ashikuzzaman and many others are involved in this illegal foreign exchange trading. All of them used to collect illegally bought dollars, euros, riyals, ringgits, pounds, dinars and other foreign currencies and supply them illegally to foreign currency smugglers or money launderers from Bangladesh through money laundering abroad. While further investigating them, the ACC found evidence of the involvement of many others. ACC is preparing a case against them.
Meanwhile, in view of specific complaints, Avia Money Changer and Imperial Money Exchange have been forced to withdraw all activities from Shahjalal Airport on the instructions of Bangladesh Bank.
Shahjalal International Airport Director Md. Kamrul Islam told the Times, “The operations of Avia Money Exchange and Imperial Money Exchange have been suspended by the order of Bangladesh Bank. Our team is working to prevent illegal trading of foreign currency. Legal action will be taken if evidence is found against anyone.
When asked about the purchase of foreign currency with fake receipts at the bank booths of the airport, APBN Additional Superintendent of Police Ziaul Haque told the Times, “This matter is being closely monitored.” Action will be taken if there is evidence of buying and selling foreign currency without valid receipts.
When asked to know, ACC Deputy Director Syed Nazrul Islam told the Times, “Further investigation is underway in this regard.” Report will be given soon. All involved will be summoned.

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