Is it ignorance or incompetence? BCBL’s top defaulter given remittance award

The Daily Star  October 10, 2019

Editorial

Is it ignorance or incompetence?

BCBL’s top defaulter given remittance award

When the Bangladesh Bank (BB) hands over the remittance award to a known loan defaulter and money launderer, we must take a moment to reflect on the irony of the matter! By failing to verify properly the nominated persons and institutions before announcing the awards, and then embarrassing the finance minister who handed over the prizes, BB’s management has illustrated a level of incompetence unheard of. We would like to know precisely how is it that the BB management was unaware of the investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where it found the awardee’s complicity in a money laundering case? Again, how can BB be ignorant about the same person being involved in an export scam that was unearthed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)?

Feigning ignorance does not suit central bank’s management. For instance, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (a unit of the central bank) investigated this person who has been a top defaulter of Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd. (BCBL) and found him involved in embezzling Tk 200 crore abroad in the name of exporting terracotta. And yet here we are, despite all the proof of wrongdoing, he has been given a remittance award. By doing so, the central bank has destroyed the prestige of the award and sullied its own image.

Such an act is unthinkable because we are not talking about a public or a privately-owned bank sponsored award. This is the Bangladesh Bank that is supposed to be the guardian of all financial transactions. And it has failed miserably to do what it continually advises the financial sector to do—verify and cross-check records and information to detect and stop fraudulent practices.   We now await to see if the responsible people at BB and those involved in the selection process will be called up for disciplinary action. Failure to do so will be an endorsement of such incompetent behaviour and convey the message that it is alright to bungle up at the highest level without fear of punishment.

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