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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Don't cast your pearls before swine

THE state sometimes openly promotes the loan defaulters by awarding them different facilities of restructuring and writing off, but what did Bangladesh Bank on Monday is surprising that it rewarded remittance award to a loan defaulter and money launderer. Without minimum scrutiny, the award given to Shahjahan Bablu by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has earned widespread criticism from different corners.
According to Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, Shahjahan, who is a top defaulter of Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd (BCBL), laundered Tk 200 crore abroad through the bank in the name of export. He had exported clay-made terracotta through one of his companies -- SB Exim -- to launder the money. Having Tk 200 crore laundered, Shahjahan bought export bills worth Tk 190 crore from BCBL's Dilkusha branch. Meanwhile, Crime Investigation Department (CID) conducted an investigation where it found Shahjahan's involvement in a money laundering case. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also found evidence of his involvement in the export scam.
The central bank usually takes report from BFIU to check whether the nominees for remittance award have any record of money laundering. Interestingly, the intelligence agency gave clearance to the central bank for awarding Shahjahan with this year's remittance award. BFIU did not performed its designated role in verifying Shahjahan's previous financial records, which gave him a chance to be awarded. Janata Bank was also responsible for the selection process as it had sent the name of Shahjahan to the central bank as one of its top remitters.
Bangladesh Bank as the central authority of ensuring financial discipline should run with a view to establishing good governance in the country's banking sector. Without proper authentication the award to the loan defaulter would dent the value of award. The practice of financial integrity should be government's top priority in managing economy in this economic take-off. We must say, the authorities concerned would conduct an intensive investigation to unearth the reason behind nominating an improper person for the prestigious award.