The Finance Minister's exasperation in parliament, over the government's inability to take punitive action against a top official of Sonali Bank for his involvement in the Hallmark loan scam as well as of those in the Basic Bank scam, because of political backing, is a significant disclosure. We laud his bold admission. He has clearly exposed his helplessness in trying to deal with a matter that should be normally under his jurisdiction. His failure to exercise his authority points to the existence of a conglomerate of higher powers which scuttle any effort to punish the offenders.
The minister has also admitted that public confidence in the financial sector has drastically fallen after the Hallmark and Basic Bank scams. This is hardly a revelation for the people of this country, many of whom are victims of these horrendous crimes.
The Finance Minister has said that an investigation is underway and the government would take action on the basis of its findings. Lawmakers have demanded a list of defaulters be published to which the minister has agreed. These appear to be definitive steps and we hope that the Prime Minister will take the lead in catching those individuals who have siphoned off public money.
Now that no less a person than the Finance Minister has laid bare the facts, the onus is on the Prime Minister to assist the Finance Minister to pursue the matter and bring the culprits to book. It goes without saying that these scams set off a raging financial indiscipline in the entire sector, causing economic hemorrhage. The PM's intervention in ending the impunity culture could not come any sooner.