The Anti-Corruption Commission has resumed the inquiry into the non-funded part of the much-talked-about Hallmark Group-Sonali Bank scam involving about Tk 1,200 crore as there was no recovery of the loans in the last seven years since 2013.
Under the non-funded part of the loan, at least 37 local and overseas banks issued facilities worth the amount to the Hallmark Group upon acceptance of the Sonali Bank back-to-back letters of credit, said ACC officials.
After a six-year suspension, the commission reconstituted the inquiry team in June to resume the probe, an ACC director general told New Age.
Commission director Mir Joynul Abedin Shibli will lead the eight-member committee.
The other members of the committee are ACC deputy directors SM Akter Hamid Bhuyan, Mosiur Rahman and Selina Akter, assistant directors Md Joynal Abedin and Silvia Ferdous and deputy assistant directors Sahidur Rahman and Afnana Jannatul.
In April 2014, the ACC stopped the probe on the plea that a series of correspondence was taking place among the Bangladesh Bank, Sonali Bank and the ACC regarding the recovery of the loan.
For reasons not known the inquiry was put on hold for the second time after it restarted in February 2018, said officials.
Initially, the ACC started the inquiry in 2012, following a complaint that the Hallmark Group embezzled about Tk 3,700 crore from Sonali Bank’s Hotel Sheraton branch through forged documents.
Later, the commission split the inquiry in two parts as funded part and non-funded part while the investigations of the 11 cases relating to the funded part were completed in October 2013.
Commission officials said that the new inquiry committee already reopened the old files while it would held a meeting after committee chief Shibli would be back in office from sick leave as he was recently infected with coronavirus.
On August 26, in a press briefing at the Sonali Bank headquarters, its managing director and chief executive officer Ataur Rahman Prodhan said that the bank had been continuing all kinds of efforts to recover the money as there was no recovery of loans from the Hallmark Group in the last seven years since 2013 despite various steps, including legal actions.
On October 7, 2013, the ACC submitted charge sheet against 25 officials of Sonali Bank and the Hallmark Group.
The ACC on October 4, 2012 filed 11 cases with Ramna police station against seven Hallmark officials, including its managing director Tanvir Mahamud, and 20 Sonali Bank officials, including its former managing director Humayun Kabir, on charge of swindling around Tk 2,000 crore from the Sonali Bank’s Hotel Sheraton branch.
Later, the ACC arrested Tanvir, Hallmark Group general manager Tusher Ahmed and its chairman and Tanvir’s wife Jesmin Islam.
Only Tanvir and Tusher are in jail custody while Jesmin is free on bail.
Sonali Bank’s former deputy general manager Azizur Rahman, accused in Hallmark scam cases, died in jail on August 25, 2014.
Charges were framed against the accused in 2015 and 2016.
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