Quizzical Changes in SIBL: BB rushes to approve it

Social Islami Bank Limited

Bangladesh Bank approved the sudden changes in Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) only hours after the Shariah-based bank provided it with documents on Monday.

The SIBL submitted to the BB the resignation letters of outgoing SIBL chairman Md Rezaul Haque, executive committee chairman Md Anisul Hoque and managing director Shahid Hossain after the SIBL held a board meeting at the Westin Dhaka hotel amid tight security.

Soon after the 90-minute meeting on Monday, the bank gave the BB the credentials of the newly appointed chairman, executive committee chairman and the MD.

The central bank hurriedly accepted the resignation letters and provided no-objection certificates (NOC) to the three appointees, BB officials told The Daily Star yesterday.

The BB also went against its own policy as it accepted the resignation letter of the outing MD of SIBL Shahid without a one-month notice from him.

According to a BB circular issued on December 23, 2014, if the chief executive officer of a bank wants to end his or her contract before expiry or resign voluntarily, he or she will have to give a notice to the board at least one-month before, and also explain the reasons behind resignation.

At the same time, the CEO of the bank will have to forward a copy of the notice to the BB.

But this didn't happen in the case of Shahid.

The BB accepted his resignation only hours after he submitted the papers. The central bank was also supposed to verify the reasons for his resignation, but it didn't, said the BB officials.

The central bank also quickly approved the appointment of Quazi Osman Ali as the new MD of the SIBL and also gave him NOC.

Before joining the SIBL, Osman worked at First Security Islami Bank as additional managing director. S Alam Group Chairman Mohammed Saiful Alam is chairman of FSIBL.

The BB's role ultimately helped the Chittagong-based S Alam Group strengthen its grip on the bank, said a BB official seeking anonymity.

The Group recently purchased around 50 percent stake in the SIBL through 19 companies.

As per a SIBL notice on October 25, the bank was to hold a board meeting at its head office on Monday. But the meeting took place at the Westin hotel from 2:30pm to 4:00pm amid tight security.

Anwarul Azim Arif, former vice-chancellor of Chittagong University, was made the SIBL chairman in place of Md Rezaul Haque.

Belal Ahmed, vice-chairman of NRB Global Bank, replaced Md Anisul Hoque as chairman of the new executive committee.

Arif and Ahmad will represent two sister concerns of S Alam Group in the SIBL board.

The two new SIBL directors and the chief executive took charge yesterday morning.

Arif and Osman paid a courtesy call on BB Governor Fazle Kabir and Deputy Governor SM Moniruzzaman at the central bank headquarters in the afternoon.

Arastoo Khan, chairman of Islami Bank Bangladesh, accompanied them.

When journalists approached central bank spokesperson Subhankar Saha at the BB headquarters around 3:00pm, he said he would comment on the changes in the SIBL only after discussing the matter with the governor. He then entered the governor's room.

Around 10 minutes later, Subhankar came out and said he would speak to reporters on condition that none of them would ask any question.

He said the country's banks operate as companies. They make changes in their boards in line with the Company Act, and this issue does not fall under the jurisdiction of the BB.

He, however, said one has to take approval from the central bank for holding the post of director.

The BB gives NOC to a person if he or she is not a defaulter with any financial institution, said the BB spokesperson.



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