Home Bangladesh Tk 50,000cr smuggled from 6 banks
Bangladesh - Bank & Finance - August 13, 2023

Tk 50,000cr smuggled from 6 banks

ACC couldn’t bring back any money from abroad

Zarif Mahmud: No one has the will to catch the bankers and corrupt businessmen. In this list, there are many influential people starting from the owner-manager of the bank. They embezzled thousands of crores of taka. A large part of the stolen money has been smuggled to various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case after investigating separate allegations of embezzlement of at least Tk 10,000 crore by BASIC, Sonali and Padma Banks. But the organization could not catch those responsible or bring back the money smuggled abroad. There is also no effective initiative to refund the money.
However, there is a precedent that ACC can bring money back from abroad after receiving the ‘green signal’ from the government. According to the ACC officials, a case has been filed against the three banks in the in the case of money embezzlement. However, if the higher authorities want to take action against them, whoever is corrupt, it is not an event.
It is known that despite the allegations of loan scam and money embezzlement against several banks, the commission did not show interest in investigating them. Sources claim that around Tk 50 thousand crore have been looted from at least six banks.
When asked, economist and director of Policy Research Institute Ahsan H. Mansoor told Daily Industry, “In many cases, the central bank is not interested in taking any action against the culprits despite knowing about it.” If they do not take action knowingly, it can be understood that they are propitiating the guilty. Corruption in the banking sector does not stop because the guilty cannot be punished.
In response to a question, he said, ‘Bangladesh Bank can’t directly investigate or arrest the guilty. They will tell ACC or CID. It is disappointing not to say that.
It has been found that the ACC is the only institution in the country that investigates, investigates and prosecutes cases of bribery, corruption and money laundering in the banking sector. But the commission is not very interested in this work due to the lack of goodwill of the government officials and the pressure of the influential people.
Information about the loss of thousands of crores of taka through irregularities and corruption through loans from various banks has been publicized in the media. The Central Bank has also sent information to the ACC at various times.
Again, the victims requested to submit the complaint of money embezzlement of multiple banks to the ACC from the individual level and take action. In most of the cases, despite having concrete evidence of money loss, the commission did not take effective measures to investigate them. In order to avoid criticism, some complaints have been prosecuted after investigation.
Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). Iftekharuzzaman told Daily Industry, “As a regulatory body, the central bank is not able to fulfill its proper responsibility in the prevention and remedy of crimes in the banking sector. In many cases they are working under the influence of debtors. As the corrupt people in this sector are politically and economically influential, the ACC can’t perform as expected.
Again, due to the lack of coordination between the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the investigation was delayed.
In response to a question, he said, “The ACC has a roadmap to identify the traffickers and bring back the money.” But political will is lacking. As a result, ACC is not interested in taking action against those responsible for fear of ‘burning hands.”
It is known that Tk 35,000 crore were stolen from the three branches of the state-owned Basic Bank in Dhaka with anonymous loans. Evidence of these loans from the bank’s Gulshan, Shantinagar and Dilkusha branches between 2009 and 2012 came to the media. Then, when there was a commotion across the country, the ACC started an investigation in the face of widespread criticism.
In 2015, after the investigation, 56 cases were filed. For mysterious reasons, the former chairman of the bank, Abdul Hai Bachchu, who was discussed in the statement of the case, was not made an accused. Bachchu has been accused in the charge sheet submitted to the court last June, 8 years after the investigation. But he is still out of touch.
ACC says that Bachchu is hiding in Dhaka. They also know his location. Still, he is not being arrested for ‘mysterious’ reasons. ACC has not arrested any of the 147 accused in the case.
It is also known that another loan fraud incident discussed in the banking sector is known as ‘Hallmark Scam’. Between 2010 and 2012, Hallmark Group embezzled Tk 3,500 crore from the then Hotel Sheraton branch of Sonali Bank. Of this, the funded amount is about Tk 1,900 crores. And non-funded Tk 1,700 crores. ACC filed 11 cases in 2012 after investigating the funded part.
In 2013, several cases were charged. In these cases, Hallmark chairman Jasmine Islam and several senior officials of the bank have been sentenced by the court. However, although a separate team has been formed for the non-funded part, the search is not over yet. The organization has not taken any action to collect this money.
It is known that a circle removed about Tk 2,000 crores from Padma Bank (former Farmers Bank) by approving anonymous loans. In addition to publishing reports in the media, documents were also sent to ACC from the Central Bank. After investigating the incident, ACC filed a case in August last year.
In the case, 11 people including the former acting managing director of the bank Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury have been made accused. Accused have been accused of embezzling only Tk 10 crore. Allegations have been made that the entire incident was covered up by falsely filing the case. Also, the discussed Bismillah Group has embezzled thousands of crores of taka from three banks including one state-owned and two private banks.
Group Managing Director Khawaja Solaiman Anwar Chowdhury, his wife Group Chairman Naureen Hasib are absconding abroad now. They have smuggled most of the loan amount abroad. ACC filed a case against 53 people including this couple.
Also, ACC has not taken any action regarding the loss of large amounts of money. A huge amount of money has been stolen from one of these banks. ACC has no initiative to bring those responsible under the law or to return the smuggled money. However, an official said that the organization will be able to take effective measures in this regard if it gets the government’s green signal.
Also, 31 cases of Tk 13,110,800,000 have been identified in a state-owned bank in six years from 2015 to 2020. This is 22.85 percent of the total non-performing loans of this bank. The accused Anon Tax Group has 44.3 percent of this unpaid amount.
They are accused of fraud and money laundering abroad. ACC is mysteriously silent even though this irregularity was detected in the audit of Bangladesh Auditor General and Controller. ACC has no initiative to investigate this matter.
If asked, ACC Secretary said. Mahbub Hossain told Daily Industry, “ACC is silent in the investigation of money embezzlement and smuggling – this is not right. There is no lack of sincerity of the commission in this regard. But the search process is time consuming. Many cases are under investigation. Search is ongoing.
In some cases, with the approval of the Ministry, identifying the assets of the accused abroad and bringing them back is also under process. He also said that the commission decided to investigate by taking into consideration the allegations of bribery and corruption in the banking sector from three sources. In addition, measures are taken as per the court order.

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