Sonali Bank is ready to pay Tk 1,200 crore against the bills of more than two dozen banks it had accepted around two years ago, its Managing Director Pradip Kumar Dutta said yesterday.
The announcement of the state-run bank came just a day after the central bank asked it to clear the bills by June next year.
“We are ready to pay the genuine bills as soon as possible. We also got some fake bills that need to be scrutinised further,” Dutta told reporters at the bank's headquarters.
He was briefing the media on the progress the bank has made in the last one year.
Sonali's classified loans came down by Tk 1,910 crore and import financing rose by more than Tk 5,000 crore during the period until June.
The bank's capital deficit fell to Tk 78 crore in June this year from more than Tk 4,000 crore in the same month a year ago.
The Hall-Mark bills that the bank had purchased came to the fore during the briefing. Sonali is in tremendous pressure to honour these overdue accepted bills after the Anti-Corruption Commission decided not to investigate the transactions saying those were non-funded loans.
Bangladesh Bank at a meeting with top bankers on Monday reminded Sonali to pay other banks' bills it accepted in favour of Hall-Mark Group, which took Tk 2,686 crore from the bank's Ruposhi Bangla hotel branch between 2010 and 2012.
Of the amount, more than Tk 1,200 crore was non-funded loans against the bills it consented to pay in future.
The state-owned bank has been delaying the payments to other banks for almost two years now, as it waited for the results of the ACC probe to be certain that no fraud was involved.
But a few months ago, the ACC declined to probe the bank's non-funded loans.
Dutta said, of the 1,757 bills his bank accepted in favour of Hall-Mark, some are fake and deserve a further examination. But the bank is ready to pay against the genuine bills, he said.