The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has imposed a travel ban on 17 people including several current and former top officials of the controversy-ridden Farmers Bank Limited.
The letter signed by ACC Deputy Director Shamsul Alam was issued on Tuesday, said ACC Assistant Director (Public Relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
Police and the authorities of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport have been asked to take necessary measures to ensure that these 17 people cannot leave the country.
ACC is investigating several top officials of the bank involved in alleged embezzlement and irregularities in loan disbursement, and deemed the ban on travelling abroad necessary as they received information that the accused were trying to flee the country, read the letter.
The top Farmers Bank officials facing the ban include the bank’s former Audit Committee chairman Mahabubul Haque Chisty, his wife Ruzi Chisty, son Rashedul Haque Chisty, Rashedul’s wife Farhana Ahmed, daughter Rimi Chisty, Mazedul Haque Chisty, the bank’s former Managing Director and CEO AKM Shameem, Deputy MD Abdul Motaleb Patwari, Senior Executive Vice-President Gazi Salauddin, Executive VP Mohammad Jahangir Alam Majumdar, and SVP Zia Uddin Ahmed.
The other officials are Lutful Haque and Md Monirul Haque, Md Tafazzal Hossain, Mohammad Shamsul Hassan Bhuiyan, Mahbub Ahmed, and Md Zakir Hossain.
Established in June 2013 following reported approval on political consideration, Farmers Bank made headlines in 2017 after investigations found massive irregularities in the bank’s loan disbursement along with a huge amount of default loans.
The bank has become a particularly risky organization in the banking sector as the amount of its default loans stood at Tk723 at the end of December last year, which is 14% of its loans, according to Bangladesh Bank.
It has also continuously failed to return the deposits of depositors over the last few months.
Currently, Tk339 crore of its defaulted loans have turned into bad debt.
The bank is nearing bankruptcy due to massive irregularities and corruption while clients are not able to withdraw their money due to lack of funds.
Following the scandals, the bank’s chairman MK Alamgir, a former home minister, and Audit Committee chief Mahabubul resigned.
The central bank in December last year also removed the bank’s MD, Shameem.
Sections of this article were first published on banglatribune.com