• Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BASIC Bank Anomalies

Board meeting minutes fake!

Rejaul Karim Byron and Sajjadur Rahman

Some 106 agenda involving Tk 1,354 crore loan were included in the minutes, but were not at all discussed at the 327th board meeting of BASIC Bank in December last year.
A total of 308 agenda were listed for the meeting, but the number shot up to 414 in the meeting minutes, as found by the Bangladesh Bank-appointed observer in the scam-hit public bank.
His remarks on promoting two bankers to the post of deputy managing directors were grossly distorted in the meeting minutes.

This was how Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, former chairman of the recently dissolved board of BASIC Bank, and Kazi Faqurul Islam, ex-managing director, committed non-financial irregularities, according to a report of the observer. The report blamed the two for the anomalies.
“This was a serious breach of banking norms and rules. Also, it was cheating,” said a BB report sent to the Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday.
After around one year, the central bank sent several reports totaling 47 pages to the ACC on the state-run bank's Gulshan and Dilkusha branches, SM Moniruzzaman, executive director of BB, told The Daily Star.
“We are yet to know anything on the investigation since we gave information about corruption at BASIC Bank,” read the BB cover letter to the ACC chairman.
The BB now hopes that the ACC will act fast to identify the culprits behind the destruction of the relatively better public bank, added the letter.
BB investigations detected massive financial irregularities involving around Tk 4,500 crore of loans in three branches of BASIC (Bangladesh Small Industries and Commerce) Bank between 2009 and 2013. Loan frauds took place in the Dilkusha, Gulshan and Shantinagar branches of the bank. Later, the central bank in May this year suspended loan activities in these branches.
The bank's board did not try to tap the business potentials of its clients. Instead, it gave out loans to nonexistent companies and approved loans instantly after the clients had opened accounts. Moreover, the board sanctioned loans even before the respective branches sent proposals to their headquarters, the BB inspection found.
The board granted loans without assessing borrowers' credit worthiness, documents and mortgages.
“There are lots of documents and evidence which can implicate the bank's former chairman. The ball is now in the ACC's court,” said a senior BB official, seeking anonymity.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) at BB also has a role to play in identifying the culprits. “We've given the FIU some documents on money laundering and where the money might have gone,” mentioned the official.
Asked why the graft watchdog had failed to expedite probing the scam in BASIC Bank, ACC Chairman M Bodiuzzman last evening said he was yet to receive the BB's latest report on the scam.
“Let's see the latest report first before making any comment,” he added.
Earlier, the government dissolved the seven-member board of the troubled bank over its role in financial irregularities. Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu also stepped down from the post of chairman.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last modified: 9:28 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TAGS: Anti-Corruption Commission BASIC Bank Board meeting Bangladesh Bank-appointed

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