Arrest of Hall-Mark MD not enough
The government can retrieve, if it wants to, the full sum swindled out of Sonali Bank by the Hall-Mark Group, said AK Azad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), yesterday.
“They [the Hall-Mark Group] have not hidden the scam money beneath the surface. Either they put it in different bank accounts of their relatives or they laundered the money to foreign countries.”
Although Azad hailed the government's act of arresting Hall-Mark Group's Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud, he feels a lot more needs to be done.
“But it is not enough. The government has to arrest all the big-wigs involved in the loan scam,” he said.
Azad said that if the accused in the scam are given exemplary punishments, they would be compelled to return the money.
Azad also suggested the same measures taken against the Destiny Group for the Hall-Mark Group.
Azad's comments came during his speech at the inauguration ceremony of the “11th National Furniture Fair 2012” organised by the Bangladesh Furniture Industry Owners Association at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
“The main objectives of the fair are to promote the locally-produced furniture and create awareness about their quality, at home and abroad,” said Salim H Rahman, chairman of the association.
A total of 60 local furniture companies -- including the well-known brands such as Akhtar Furnishers, Brothers, Furnitec, Hatil, Navana and Partex -- are showcasing their products at the 200-odd stalls at the fair.
“The furniture industry in Bangladesh has witnessed substantial growth in the last decade, and is showing promises of further progress. It is high time we take steps to boost it,” said KM Akhtaruzzaman, Bangladesh Furniture Exporters Association's chairman.
He further said there is immense potential to export as the sector has made tremendous progress in terms of quality and design.
Around 90 percent of Bangladesh's export comes from six items, including readymade garments, home textiles, leather and frozen foods, according to Shubhashish Bose, vice-chairman of Export Promotion Bureau.
“It is one of our weaknesses. But the furniture could be another promising sector for export as the country is offering competitive prices.”
Bose added that the government is working to diversify the export basket through provision of policy support.
The seven-day fair was inaugurated by Railways Minister Mujibul Haque, and has no entry fee.
The fair will remain open from 10am to 9pm everyday except Wednesday and Thursday, when it would open at 12 pm, and on Saturday, when it would open at 3 pm.