AnonTex riding on BB favours
Bangladesh Bank has given AnonTex, which took more than Tk 5,500 crore from Janata Bank through serious irregularities, a controversial permission to take more loans from other state-owned banks as well, reschedule its loans and valuate its assets afresh to make it look like a healthy company.
The garment exporter has Tk 557 crore defaulted loans with Janata Bank.
AnonTex's business style came under question when a BB investigation in January this year revealed that it was given loans worth Tk 5,500 crore, 13 times the ceiling set by the central bank, with approval from Janata's board.
Now the central bank itself seems to be ignoring its own investigation, allowing the company more loans without ensuring that the additional money slopped on the company would not also get stuck like the previous loans.
Interestingly, the latest green signal from the BB came even though Janata Bank's board did not consent to the company's proposal for rescheduling its loans and revaluation of its assets.
Such an approval from the BB without the consent of the client's bank is against banking norms.
Bangladesh Bank's actions are even more paradoxical as two of its officials sent two separate letters with completely opposite directives.
On October 3, its Deputy General Manager Mizanur Rahman Akon sent a letter, asking Janata to accept AnonTex's proposal.
He sent the letter without approval from the higher authorities of the relevant department, the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department (FICSD), top BB officials said.
On the same day, an additional director of the same department sent another letter to Janata, asking it to take necessary steps to recover the previous loans from AnonTex.
Confused about which instruction to follow, Janata sent a letter to the BB, requesting clarifications.
Ahmed Jamal, deputy governor of the BB who heads the FICSD, said he did not know that the central bank accepted the plan placed by AnonTex.
“We are examining how two letters with different directives were sent on the same day,” he told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
The top management has demanded an explanation from the FICSD about the matter.
“We are preparing the explanation,” said Jamal Mollah, general manager of the department.
The matter came to light recently after Janata Bank discussed the two conflicting directives in its 542nd board meeting. A BB official was also present in the meeting as an observer.
Sources said the BB official informed the top management about the matter.
Subsequently, Mizanur was transferred to another department on October 22.
Mizanur had led the January investigation into Janata's loan to AnonTex. The probe found, among other things, that AnonTex's loans are posing a serious threat to Janata Bank's existence.
Contacted last night by phone, he said he sent the letter with approval from the higher authorities, but would not say who gave him the go-ahead.
AnonTex has long been enjoying various favour from Janata and the BB.
In its January investigation, the BB found Janata Bank gave a staggering loan of Tk 5,508 crore to AnonTex through various irregularities. Of the sum, Tk 2,643 crore were bad loans.
The probe team recommended classifying the amount.
“If this huge amount of loan is not classified, the existence of the state-owned bank will be under threat,” the probe report said, asking Janata Bank board to make a plan to recover the loan.
In response, Janata wrote to the FICSD that AnonTex would be able to pay the loan and that there was no need for it to classify the amount. The department accepted it.
But the company failed to pay back and became a defaulter in June, creating a capital shortfall in Janata Bank.