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Saturday, November 3, 2012

[] ACC spots Tk 3,500cr BASIC Bank loan scam

ACC spots Tk 3,500cr BASIC Bank loan scam

The Anti-Corruption Commission launched an inquiry of the alleged
embezzlement of Tk 3,500 crore from state-owned Bangladesh Small
Industries and Commerce Bank Limited, commission officials said.

The commission in the past week set up a four-member team to look into
the embezzlement of public fund allegedly by the bank's chairman
Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, managing director Kazi Faqurul Islam and some
other directors misusing power and violating banking laws.

Commission officials said the fund alleged to have been
misappropriated from BASIC Bank, a specialised bank responsible for
giving loans to small industries, had come to light within months
after Tk 3,600 crore being laundered by the little-known Hallmark
Group and five other companies from Sonali Bank Limited, the largest
state-owned bank in Bangladesh, surfaced.

The commission's chairman Ghulam Rahman said that the commission would
take action if the allegations of fund embezzlement from BASIC Bank
were found to be true.
Ghulam told New Age on Saturday that he would not make further
comments on the inquiry that is under way. 'I will make further
comments after the team submits the report.'

The commission officials said that the Bangladesh Bank had given a
notice to the BASIC Bank board of directors about the irregularities
in June 2011. The central bank directed the BASIC Bank to take
necessary steps in this regard but the BASIC Bank did not follow the
directives because of political pressure, they said.

The officials said that the inquiry team had already held a meeting
over the alleged embezzlement committed through letters of credit,
inland bill purchases and forged documents.

Abdul Hye is suspected, they said, to have disbursed Tk 6,000 crore in
loans to different companies out of which Tk 3,500 crore was given in
breach of banking rules and regulations.

The inquiry team will focus on transactions of the branches at
Gulshan, Shantinagar and Dilkusha in Dhaka and the Rajshahi branch as
mainly these branches are said to be involved in the embezzlement.

Around Tk 1,600 crore was misappropriated through the Gulshan branch.
The branch manager, Shipar Ahmed, violated rules and sanctioned loans
to six fake companies. He was also allegedly involved in giving
unauthorised loans to nine companies between 2009 and August 2012.

The companies are S Suhi Shipping Line (Tk 45 crore), S Recourse
Shipping Line (Tk 65 crore), Shifan Shipping Line (Tk 50 crore), Amira
Shipping Line (Tk 90 crore), SFG Shipping Line (Tk 75 crore) and Green
Bangla Shipping Line (Tk 130 crore).
Commission officials said that Sheikh Shahriar Panna, brother of the
BASIC Bank chairman, had embezzled about Tk 730 crore.They said that
Tk 1,500 crore was allegedly embezzled from the bank's Shantinagar

The bank chairman took the larger portion of the fund which is about
Tk 400 crore. Some high government officials allegedly also received
shares of the so-called loan but the commission officials did not name

An official said that the Shantinagar branch had given the suspected
loan to Nahar Garden (Tk 25 crore), Auto Define (Tk 163 crore), Syed
Traders (Tk 27 crore), Ahmed Faizur Rhman (Tk 55 crore), LR Trading
(Tk 35 crore), Fiez Auto (Tk 118 crore), Eco Brice (Tk 55 crore),
Noman Textile (Tk 110 crore) and Aristocrat (Tk 70 crore).
The Dilkusha branch gave about Tk 14,00 crore in loans to some
companies. It sanctioned loans to Balyet Navigation (Tk 70 crore),
Adib Dyeing (Tk 55 crore), Welltex (Tk 42 crore), Well Sweaters (Tk 25
crore), Syed Constructions (Tk 70 crore), Bay Navigation (Tk 55
crore), Alotec (Tk 28 crore), Apollo Constructions (Tk 65 crore) and
Emerald (Tk 55 crore).

The officials said that they would get primary information on the
Rajshahi branch in a few days.After the case of the Hallmark Group,
the commission is now looking into financial irregularities of more
than Tk 3,800 crore alleged to have been embezzled from the
state-owned banks such as Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Rupali Bank and
Agrani Bank.


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