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Sonali Bank stands first in loan scam
Sonali Bank Ltd, a nationalized commercial bank, scored first place in irregularities and loan scam. This bank is alleged to have broken all previous records of irregularities.
Violating traditional rules and regulations, the bank’s Sheraton Hotel (now Ruposhi Bangla Hotel) branch allocated loan to an infamous organization named Hallmarks to the tune of an amount which is five times more than its reserve fund.
By doing so, the bank has allegedly created a scope of misappropriation of around Tk 3,000 crore.
Although the Bangladesh Bank and the Anti-Corruption Commission have started investigation into the irregularities, influential Hallmarks is trying to suppress the investigation findings.
Sources said the incident of irregularities has been disclosed in inspection report of Sonali Bank recently.
The General Manager concerned of the BB, the Manager of Sheraton Hotel Branch and its Assistant Manager have been held responsible for the incident.
This is for the first time in the country’s history that Tk 2,731 crore was allocated as loan to a single organization under many heads. Similarly, the branch allocated loan to other organization through irregularities. A total of Tk 3,559 crore has been distributed as loan.
Although the incident took place in March but it was not identified prior to the BB inspection. It is learnt that the branch manager in connivance with bank’s high-ups have committed the irregularities.
In last March, the amount of deposit was Tk 609 crore and in April it was Tk 656 crore. But only Hallmarks alone got loan of the amount five times more than its deposit—that means the extra money was collected from other branches at the behest of the Head Office’s permission.
Several bankers said such kind of loan allocation is not possible without involvement of the Head Office.
An audit report of Sonali Bank said this unusual loan was allocated to Hallmarks in last February, March and April. It also accused the high-ups of remaining silent about it. The report gave intimation that the high-ups took advantage from loan recipient.
Now, the BB is holding further inquiry into the matter. Apart from this, the ACC has stepped into it. Despite this kind of serious scam, no steps were taken against the responsible officials. Only
Manager and Assistant Deputy Manager of Ruposhi Bangla Branch have been temporarily suspended as per order of the central bank.
SM Moniruzzaman, Executive Director of the BB, said the central bank has given some instruction to the Sonali Bank to avoid this kind of irregularities in future.
According to reliable source, the bank has given loan to Hallmarks for purchasing industrial equipments and providing current capital. But 80 percent of this money was misappropriated by all interested group in the name of opening letter of credit (LC).
On March 28, Hallmarks Group opened LC of Tk 500 crore in Ruposhi Bangla Branch for purchasing yarn in favour of Anwara Spinning Mills, Max Spinning Mills and Star Spinning Mills. The three seller organizations are also account holders (clients) of this branch. So, the bank transferred the money to the accounts of these three companies. The LC was only in black and white. But the bank deposited the money to the accounts of three companies. Later, the bank withdrew the money from the accounts of three companies and transferred it the account of Hallmarks to make its payment. Later, the money was shifted from the account of Hallmarks to that of Century International. Then the vested quarter of Hallmarks Group misappropriated the money.
It has been known that the organizations Anwara Spinning Mills, Max Spinning Mills and Star Spinning Mills are nonexistent and false. The audit report said these are the unnamed organizations of Hallmarks.
The report also claimed that Hallmarks have used the names of 42 such organizations to embezzle the money of the bank.
Primarily these organizations have been proved nonexistent and fake although BB audit team found that 84 such organizations were used to withdraw loan.
It has become uncertain whether the huge amount of money of the nationalized bank can be realized at all.
[ First Page ] 2012-08-11