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Thursday, December 11, 2014, Agrahayan 27, 1421, Safar 17, 1436 Hijr

Sonali Bank bigwigs remain off the hook
Tk 2,686 cr Hallmark Scam
Published : Thursday, 11 December, 2014,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 74
Saleem Samad
The Bangladesh Bank is frustrated with its failure to bring to book three suspended officials of the Sonali Bank involved in the Hallmark scam for more than a year.
The central bank has been tirelessly asking Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to punish the corrupt bankers but despite repeated official reminders no progress has been made so far.
Recently, the central bank has sent for the second time an official memo urging ACC to take action against these corrupt officials, a highly placed bank official said.
Dr Atiur Rahman, Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, has raised the issue at a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance regarding initiating legal actions against the three Sonali Bank officials.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry Dr Abdur Razzaque has taken into cognizance the concerns of the central bank and urged ACC to take punitive actions against the bankers, senior BB official said.
The Commission on September 2013 approved the 11 charge sheets with Ramna police station against the 25 people for embezzlement of Tk 2,686 crore from Sonali Bank's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch by the Hallmark Group, the country's biggest ever banking fraud, to a magistrate court in Dhaka.
Since then warrant of arrests has not been issued against the bank officers for reasons not known to Bangladesh Bank.
The Commission framed charges against 12 Hallmark Group executives and its associates, including its managing director Tanvir Mahmud, his wife Jesmin Islam, also chairman of the group, and general manager Tushar Ahmed, and 13 Sonali Bank senior officials, including its former managing director Humayun Kabir.
The suspended officials are senior officers of Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch Ujjal Kishore Dhar, Tushar Kanti Dhar, Jasmine Nahar, Mihir Chandra Mazumder, junior officer Wakiluddin Ahmed and officer Saidur Rahman, deputy general manager of international trade department Sheikh Altaf Hossain, assistant general managers Shafiz Uddin Ahmed and Ijaz Ahmed, senior executive officer Mukhlesur Rahman, executive officer Sohrab Hossain, assistant general managers of the general manager's office Golam Nabi Malik and Ashraf Ali Patwari, senior executive officer Wahed Uddin Ahmed and deputy general manager of inspection and audit department Nessar Ahmed Chowdhury, executive officer Ekramul Mandal and branch inspector Kamrul Hossain Khan.
Earlier, Sonali Bank suspended three of its officials accused in the fraud. They are deputy general manager of Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch AKM Azizur Rahman, assistant general manager Saiful Hasan and executive officer Abdul Matin.
According to the ACC investigation, the Hallmark Group has embezzled the money from the Sonali Bank Ruposhi Bangla Branch during the tenure of Azizur Rahman.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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