The e-commerce firm stands accused of embezzling nearly Tk339 crore of customers' money
The Commerce Ministry has written to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), asking the agency to launch an inquiry against the online marketplace Evaly over its alleged embezzlement of Tk338.62 crore, paid in advance by customers on special deals and discounts.
Confirming the matter, ACC Deputy Director (Public Relations) Muhammad Arif Sadeq said a probe committee had already been formed last year to investigate allegations of irregularities made against the e-commerce platform.
The probe panel consists of ACC Assistant Director Mamunur Rashid Chowdhury and Deputy Assistant Director Shihab Salam.
“After receiving a complaint from the Ministry of Commerce earlier, an inquiry was launched through a two-member team of the money laundering division. The investigation will now be conducted by linking the newly received complaint with the previous one,” the ACC said in a statement on Thursday.
“The investigation will now be more dynamic as the new complaint is more specific,” it added.
The committee has to submit its report within 45 business days, according to an ACC source.
In an inspection report submitted to the Commerce Ministry in June, Bangladesh Bank said Evaly's total liabilities stood at Tk407.18 crore. After receiving Tk213.94 crore in advance from customers and Tk189.85 crore from merchants, the company was expected to have at least Tk403.80 crore in current assets, but it only had Tk65.17 crore.
The Commerce Ministry also asked the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection and the Bangladesh Competition Commission to take legal action against Evaly over the issue of undelivered goods of which Tk214 crore was taken in advance and unpaid refunds worth Tk190 crore were owed to merchants.
According to the ministry, Evaly will be able to deliver goods or return the money to only 16.14% of the customers with the company's current assets.
The company will not be able to clear its remaining dues owed to customers and merchants. Besides, an amount of Tk338.62 crore could not be traced which has likely been embezzled or illegally withdrawn.
Bangladesh Bank had earlier expressed its concern over the possibility that Evaly's liability to customers and merchants might be higher.
It was also reported that Evaly did not allow an inspection team to enter the company's replica database.