E-commerce scams: Find out those responsible: HC
The High Court yesterday ordered finding out the persons and institutions responsible for the financial scams and money laundering through e-commerce platforms.
The authorities concerned of the government and Anti-Corruption Commission have been asked to submit separate compliance reports as early as possible after assessing the amount of misappropriated money.
The court passed the order after examining a compliance report from Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), which has found evidence of fraudulence, suspicious financial transactions and money laundering by eight e-commerce platforms.
The eight firms are Dalal Plus, Bangladesh Deal, Amar Bazar Limited, 24 TKT Limited, Daraz Bangladesh Limited, Anonder Bazar Limited, Sohoj Life, and Aladiner Pradeep.Com, which have transacted Tk 859 crore between 2018 and 2021.
The BFIU, which is responsible for enquiring suspicious transactions, sent its findings to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further probe and legal action.
The agency submitted its report during the hearing of three writ petitions, following which the HC issued the order.
The report read that taking money in advance from a customer by an e-commerce institution for supplying products and not delivering the products on time is tantamount to fraudulence.
The e-commerce platforms may have used the customers' money to different sectors or transacted to their personal or business accounts and the money might have been laundered through such transactions, it added.
On April 21, the BFIU submitted another compliance report to the HC, saying it has found evidence of suspicious transactions and money laundering by three e-commerce platforms -- Boom Boom Ltd, Qcoom Ltd, and Sirajganj Shop.
HC DIRECTIVE AND RULES
Yesterday, the HC asked the government and ACC to identify the persons and institutions whose negligence and failure caused serious financial losses and damage to lakhs of customers of the e-commerce firms so that action can be taken against them.
The court also issued three rules questioning the inaction and failure of the respondents to prevent the financial scams of the e-commerce platforms, monitor their activities and protect the rights of consumers.
In a rule, the HC asked them to explain in four weeks why their inaction and failure to prevent the financial scams of the e-commerce platforms should not be directed illegal and why legal action should not be taken against them.
In another rule, it asked the respondents to show causes why they should not be directed to compensate the consumers whose money has been misappropriated by the e-commerce platforms.
The court also wanted to know from them why they should not be directed to take necessary steps to protect the rights and interests of the consumers of e-commerce platforms and form an independent regulatory body to oversee the functions of the companies.
Secretaries to the ministries of commerce, finance, information and home; Bangladesh Bank's governor, and officials concerned of ACC, BFIU, Bangladesh Competition Commission and Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection have been made respondents to the rules.
The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Khizir Hayat came up with the order and rules following three separate writ petitions filed by some Supreme Court lawyers and victim consumers seeking necessary directives on this issue.
Lawyers Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallob, Mohammad Shishir Manir and Md Anwarul Islam appeared for the petitioners.
Lawyers Shamim Ahmed Khaled, Tapas Kanti Baul and Deputy Attorney General Bepul Bagmar represented the BFIU, the commerce ministry and the state respectively during the hearing of the petitions.
Lawyer Shishir Manir filed a petition on September 23 last year on behalf of 33 consumers of the e-commerce platform e-orange.shop.
In the same month, two other lawyers, Md Anwarul Islam and Humayun Kabir Pallob, filed two other writ petitions as public interest litigations seeking some other directive over the e-commerce scams.