JS panel unhappy as no action taken against ex-chairman of BASIC
A parliamentary panel has expressed utter disappointment as the government did not take any action against the former chairman of BASIC Bank, the main accused in scams in the state-run bank.
At a meeting yesterday, the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry also decided to call upon the Anti-Corruption Commission to take punitive measures against the former chairman and other people responsible for irregularities in the bank.
Officials of Bangladesh Bank told the committee that they have sent a set of recommendations to the ACC, requesting the watchdog to take action against the former chairman, Abdul Hye Bacchu, under specific allegations.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, State Minister for Finance and Planning Abdul Mannan, BB Governor Atiur Rahman and Banking Secretary M Aslam Alam were present at the meeting presided over by Chairman of the parliamentary committee Abdur Razzaque.
Apart from the BASIC Bank issues, decisions were taken about other state banks, interest rates and giving subsidy on interest of agriculture loans, said officials who were present at the meeting.
BASIC Bank Managing Director Khondoker Md Iqbal briefed the meeting on the latest situation of the bank.
A member of the parliamentary panel said several loans of BASIC Bank were sanctioned through verbal or telephone orders from the former chairman; no loan proposals were placed in board meeting.
The incumbent management could not trace 66 loans of the bank. A BB investigation report, incorporating specific allegations against the bank's former chairman, was sent to the anti-graft watchdog, central bank officials told the meeting.
Abdur Razzaque said a "wholesale robbery" has taken place in BASIC Bank. The officials of the finance ministry, the central bank and other banks held mainly the former chairman responsible for the irregularities.
The committee has decided to advise the government to give subsidy on the interest of loans for agro-based industries so that banks can offer low-cost funds.
The finance minister told the meeting that the government will consider it, Razzaque said.
The meeting also backed a lending rate up to 12 percent, which is 14-15 percent now. However, bankers said interest rate on deposit needs to be lowered for this.
Bankers also said default loans are a hindrance to lowering the rate of interest on credit. Cases involving around Tk 29,000 crore of default loans are pending with courts, BB officials said. Razzaque said they will request the government to form a separate bench in the High Court for settling cases related to loans.