More than 50 cheques have been stolen from a Dhaka branch of the scam-tainted Sonali Bank.
The bank’s Lalmatia Branch has filed a complaint with Mohammadpur police over the incident.
Sonali Bank, the largest state-owned commercial bank, has been hit hard by robbery and loan scams in recent times.
Lalmatia Branch Manager Rejaul Karim Khan told police that the cheques were stolen from a drawer of the bank’s clearing section.
Mohammadpur police OC Azizul Haq said they were investigating the incident.
Sources say the cheques, submitted by various persons and institutions, amounted to over Tk 10 million.
Manager Khan claimed although his branch did not have the precise figure, the amount was not over Tk 3 million.
“It cannot be a crore (10 million) by any means because the daily average transaction in my branch is between Tk 10 and Tk 15 million,” he said.
Bank officials say the stolen cheques include salaries of several government offices and contractors’ pay orders for bidding in BJMC tenders.
Cheques from the government offices came in on Sunday and, now, they cannot draw their salaries until duplicate cheques are issued.
Deputy General Manager (DGM) Md Kamruzzaman of the bank’s Ramna regional office, which supervises the Lalmatia Branch, said 50 to 55 cheques had been stolen.
“We have information on 40 lost cheques. Others were stolen before they were posted in the ledger,” he told bdnews24.com.
He said someone had tried to cash the stolen cheques.
Sonali Bank officials said someone tried to withdraw money with one of the cheques from Standard Chartered Bank’s Gulshan Branch on Sunday.
An official said they called the person who had issued the cheque and the man who submitted it fled.
“We later learnt that it was stolen from Lalmatia,” the official said, but he was unwilling to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
DGM Kamruzzaman said they had asked the customers to direct banks concerned to stop payment.
“We are trying to get information on those not registered and stop payment. We hope none of our consumers will be harmed,” he said.
The Sonali Bank has not taken action against anyone but provided police with the CCTV footage.
Police will question bank officials after scrutinising the footage, Kamruzzaman said.
A raft of security measures were recommended for the bank after a series of heists.
The bank has not been able to recover Tk 180 million swindled from its Mirpur Branch.
A recent Bangladesh Bank investigation revealed that an official with Sonali Bank’s branch at Ministry of Industries, Jahidul Islam, had misappropriated about Tk 5 million from accounts.
The central bank has directed the chiefs of all banks to remain alert.
Source: Bd news24