Sponsors of new banks under NBR scanner
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has started examining tax-related information about the sponsors of the much-talked-about new banks, a senior official said yesterday.
The revenue administration has asked its field offices to send information of the sponsors of four new banks -- Union Bank, Meghna Bank, Midland Bank and South Bangla Agricultural and Commerce Bank.
"We have started scanning tax files of the sponsors based on a request from Bangladesh Bank," the NBR official said, asking not to be unnamed.
â€œWe are mainly looking into their income tax status, whether they have any outstanding dues.â€
The central bank had earlier asked the NBR to know about the tax status of the sponsors of the new banks.
Many of sponsors of these banks are either lawmakers of ruling Awami League and Jatiya Party, with HM Ershad, a former military dictator and chief of AL's ally Jatiya Party, being the most notable.
Ershad is a director of Union Bank Ltd, while JP's International Affairs Secretary Golam Masih is among the 19 shareholders of the bank.
There are 22 sponsor shareholders of Meghna Bank, and the most prominent among them is HN Ashikur Rahman, a ruling party lawmaker from Rangpur-5 constituency and Nasrul Hamid, AL lawmaker from Dhaka-3.
South Bangla Agriculture and Commerce Bank has Dhaka University teacher and Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee leader Abdul Mannan Chowdhury as one of its 14 directors.
The number of Midland Bank's directors is 32, and its main sponsor, M Maniruzzaman Khandker, is the prime minister's income tax adviser and chairman of Karmasangsthan Bank.
In April, the central bank approved six local and three non-resident Bangladeshi banks in the face of political pressure.
Of them, seven managed to hand in their supporting documents in time to the BB, while two sought time extension, which the BB agreed to.
But out of the seven that handed in their paperwork in time, there is a shortfall in necessary documents in two.