Sonali Bank has started probe into alleged issuance of huge loans against a number of fake names and addresses by Kalapara branch of the bank when Abu Eusuf Howlader worked there as former manager from April 1 in 2009 to March 13 in 2011.
Shah Alam, a senior officer of the principal office of Sonali Bank in Patuakhali, started the probe on Wednesday.
The bank issued a mortgage loan of Tk 3 lakh (case No 14) on October 28 in 2010 in the name of Jahangir Alam who died on January 20 in 2007. Recently the bank called a bid to sell that mortgage land, claiming Tk 4.65 including interest, local sources said.
Much to his astonishment, Jahangir's nephew Kamrul Islam Tarun Gazi, saw that the bank filed a false loan case showing Jahangir Alam as the proprietor of the Milon Traders in Kalapara upazila town.
As Torun Gazi submitted a written complaint to the higher authorities of the bank, investigation found that form of the said loan in the bank branch file was yet to be filled up and there was no name or signature of any guarantor. There was a fake signature of the 'client'.
The then manager Abu Eusuf Howlader put his signature on all papers but there was no signature of any other officer of the bank, said Tarun Gazi.
Senior Officer Shah Alam, who started probe on Wednesday, said, "I visited Jahangir Alam's village home and grave today [Thursday], and talked to locals. Cases of fake loans will be unearthed through investigation."
A fake loan (No 33) was issued to Sabiha Stores in the area, said a source of the bank.
At least 130 cases of loan, each amounting to Tk 20 thousand, is found with the branch and Tk 14 lakh is shown as outstanding in these cases, but most of the loans are fake, source said.
Such loans with fake names and addresses were issued allegedly by a gang led by the then manager Abu Eusuf.
The bank issued loan of Tk 5,000 each to Abdur Rahman Mollah and Sobahan Mollah of Dariapur village in Nilganj union, claiming that they took the loan on April 25 in 2009 but there are no people with the names at the village, locals said.
Liakat Hossain, a schoolteacher of the village, said a loan of Tk 30,000 was issued in his name but he never received any loan from the bank.
Around 300 fake loan cases would be found only in Nilganj area, he added.
At least 12 fake loans were issued in the names of teachers in the area, said Shahadat Hossain, president of Kalapara upazila teachers association.
Md Ibadur Rahman, manager of the branch, said he informed the higher authorities when he found such irregularities regarding loans.
Contacted, the then manager Abu Eusuf Howlader, who is now working at the principal office the bank in Patuakahli town, claimed that he issued loans after seeing valid papers.
But when asked if all the recipients came to the bank physically for the purpose, he refused to reply.