A mind-blowing ‘non-bank’ robbery! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:22 AM, September 29, 2020

Editorial

A mind-blowing ‘non-bank’ robbery!

Bangladesh must get back the money

We are staggered by the amount of money embezzled by PK Halder and his associates from non-banking financial institutions, as revealed by a latest report on this case. Investigators have found out that the amount is much more than initially discovered —it is at least 10,200 crore! It is incredulous that Halder was able to siphon off this huge amount of money using 30 organisations owned by him and his associates without getting caught until now.

The complex operations of moving money among multiple financial institutions and accounts using fraudulent companies that exist only on paper, and using his position to get loans from various financial institutions, give rise to questions regarding the level of oversight within these financial institutions. How could such huge amounts be loaned to this man and his associates without the customary background checks? Or was it because he managed to hold big positions in various institutions that gave him the clout that allowed him to siphon the money? That only raises the question of how he managed to get such positions that traditionally require much scrutiny from the boards of these organisations.

What all this points to is how easy it is for an individual to use his position to secure loans, given out to fake companies, with the money ending up in accounts of associates or relatives or other companies (not in the loan agreement), which can then be laundered to foreign countries. This incident cries out for investigation into other such con artistes who have been bleeding our financial institutions.  

It is of course laudable that the ACC has been able to unravel such a complex network that allowed Halder to commit this spectacular "non-bank robbery". The job at hand now is for the ACC and Bangladesh Bank to retrieve this huge amount that has robbed the nation of precious funds; funds that could have been used for crucial development purposes or helped to set up legitimate businesses. According to reports Halder, who has fled to Canada, has said he is willing to come back to the country and settle the transactions and liabilities with the company if he gets "proper security for his life". We are not sure whether this will actually happen, but the Bangladesh authorities should definitely do everything in their power to bring Halder back and retrieve the money he has looted. There are many such fraudsters crippling the financial sector and they should all be brought to book.

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