Anti-Corruption Commission on Sunday filed five cases against 22 people including seven Crescent Group bosses and 15 Janata Bank Ltd officials on charge of embezzling around Tk 1,745 crore from the bank in the name of export business with forged documents.
The accused allegedly embezzled the amount in the name of five sister concerns of Crescent Group.
Of the amount, Crescent Leather Products Ltd embezzled Tk 500 crore, Crescent Tanneries Ltd Tk 68.34 crore, Lexco Ltd Tk 74.38 crore, Rupali Composite Leatherwear Ltd Tk 454 crore and Rimex Footwear Ltd Tk 648 crore.
The accused Crescent Group officials are Crescent Leather Products Ltd chairman MA Kader, its directors Sultana Begum, also Kader’s wife, and Rezia Begum, Rimex Footwear Ltd chairman Abdul Aziz, who is also brother of Kader and owner of Bangla Movies production house Jaaz Multimedia, and its director Rimex managing director Litun Jahan Mira and Lexco Ltd director M Harun-Or-Rashid.
The 15 accused Janata Bank officials are former Janata Bank general managers Fakhrul Alam and M Jakir Hossain, deputy general managers Kazi Rais Uddin Ahmed, AKM Asaduzzaman and Muhammad Iqbal, former DGM M Rezaul Karim, assistant general managers M Ataur Rahman Sarkar and SM Shariful Islam, senior principal officials Khairul Amin, Baharul Alam and M Magreb Ali, principal officer Muhammad Ruhul Amin and senior executive officers M Saiduzzaman, M Moniruzzaman and Abdullah Al Mamun.
The Group embezzled the money between 2015 and 2017, the ACC said.
ACC assistant director Gulshan Anowar filed the cases with Chawkbazar police in the capital, said its public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee.
He said that the bankers approved at least 221 letters of credit though the companies, submitted documents without original bill of lading pre-shipment inspection certificates, courier receipts, copies of authenticated swift messages and the names of origin certificates issuing countries.
It also found that Hong Kong, Thailand and Dubai-based companies — Sun Paul Leather Craft, Bio Li Da Trading Com, Ltd, Merchant Trade Guarantee Corp, Co Ltd, Bright View General Trading — issued the LCs from West African country Gambia-based bank named Axios Credit Bank Ltd avoiding their own countries though the companies had no business in Gambia, the official said.
Earlier, on January 30, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate of National Board of Revenue filed three cases against 17 people including four businesspeople from leather sector and 13 bankers for allegedly siphoning off Tk 919.56 crore from the country through faking exports.
CIID of NBR lodged the money laundering cases with the same police station indicting the owners of Crescent Leather Products Ltd, Rimex Footwear Ltd and Crescent Tanneries Ltd and officials of Janata Bank.
Customs intelligence also arrested MA Kader on the day from Kakrail area in Dhaka.
A good number of accused are common in the cases of ACC and CIID.
On January 31, the entire loan of Tk 3,572.98 crore given by the Janata Bank to five subsidiaries of Crescent Group became defaulted.
After the development, the scam-hit Janata Bank had Tk 2,868.77 crore more added to its piles of defaulted loans in the past three months mainly due to the failure of two of its clients to repay loans.
The total amount of bad loans of the state-owned bank stood at Tk 17,304 as of December 2018, a threefold increase on Tk 5,818 as of December 2017.
According to information provided by the second largest government-owned bank to Financial Institutions Division on January 31, 2019, the overall bad loans jumped to Tk 17,304 crore as of January 2019 from Tk 14,436 crore in September 2018.
The sharp increase in defaulted loans has largely been attributed to the failure by the bank’s clients Crescent Group and AnonTex to clear the loan repayment.
Crescent Leather Products owed Tk 894.92 crore to the bank while Rupali Composite Leather Wear Limited owed Tk 923.39 crore, Crescent Tanneries Tk 173.51 crore, Lexco Limited Tk 446.26 crore and Remax Footwear Tk 1134.9 crore.
The bank official said that the overall defaulted loan of the bank would go up further in coming months as AnonTex was failing to clear debt against its loan worth over Tk 5,500 crore.
AnonTex Group has been lobbying for fresh loans from the same bank and met with former finance minister AMA Muhith on August 20, 2018.
Both AnonTex and Crescent Group were extended loan by the previous board of directors led by former chairman Abul Barakat from 2009 to 2014.
The state-run bank faced the scam hit against after 2012 as yet another after Sonali Bank Ltd and BASIC Bank Ltd.
Earlier in April 2018, Financial Institutions Division recommended five measures, including regular disclosure of identity of big loan defaulters, establishment of cells in the central bank to monitor defaulted loans of over Tk 100 crore and constitution of a separate High Court bench for speedy disposal of writs on loan recovery.
But most of the recommendations are yet to be implemented.
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