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First Finance feels the pinch for corrupt directors

  • Published at 12:11 am October 24th, 2016
  • Last updated at 12:14 am October 24th, 2016
First Finance feels the pinch for corrupt directors
The country’s non-bank financial institutions bear the brunt of financial irregularities including embezzlement in which FIs directors and high-ups are involved, the central bank investigative team has found. The names of corrupt big fish in financial institutions (FIs) surface at a time when the country’s state-owned banks including BASIC Bank are still reeling from financial crisis due to loan fraud. The Bangladesh Bank investigation revealed that AQM Faruk Ahmed Chowdhury, former chairman of First Finance, embezzled over Tk40 crore from his corporation, and got involved in various irregularities including loan forgery and commission earnings against forged loans from his financial institution. In February this year, Bangladesh Bank asked Frist Finance to recover the embezzled amount from its chairman and served show cause notice to then CEO as to why he will not be fined Tk10 lakh or given a three-year prison term or both. Recently, Faruk filed a case against the Bangladesh Bank decision on paying back Tk40 crore, said a senior executive of the central bank. Later in May this year Faruk resigned from the post of chairman and his brother AQM Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury took the helm being appointed as chairman.
Bangladesh Bank took punitive actions against Moin. The actions include either a fine of Tk10 lakh or a three-year jail sentence or both
Prior to his joining, Faisal was serving the First Finance as vice-chairman and found to be an accomplice in the corruption. Faisal is also the sponsor director of Alphabet Associates Limited and Alphabet Systems Limited owned by his brother Faruk Ahmed Chowdhury. Several top officials including Chief Financial Officer MA Matin and Company Secretary Ashfaqur Rahman were also in collusion  to commit the misdeeds. Though the accused chairman and CEO have been removed, Faruk Ahmed is still calling the shot by appointing his own men to directorial posts. The board of First Finance included two new directors namely Ataul Haque and Kazi Saoda Afrin serving Alphabet Associates Limited as representatives of the 274th board meeting held in August this year. On August 23, Bangladesh Bank (BB) gave a show cause notice to the incumbent chairman, Faisal, asking how and why those two directors were appointed as representatives of a company owned by its former chairman Faruk Ahmed Chowdhury. An investigation conducted by BB showed that Faruk Ahmed received remuneration despite not attending the board meeting, misappropriated Tk65 lakh from sold land that was mortgaged against default loan, received money against false advertisement, violating rule. Moreover, Faisal was given a home loan of Tk70 lakh, overruling the board decision against which there was no repayment. The probe team also found that some large loans were given to Al-Modina Enterprise, Aftab Enterprise, Munshi Traders, Dolfin Car centre, Mabco Group, Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman, Hafijul Islam and Runa Trading Corporation from Agrabad, Corporate, Gulshan and Board Bazar branch. All loans were issued against forged documents and turned default eventually. In some cases, innocent officers who proposed for loans from branches concerned were punished by the then board to hide the real culprits, cited the investigation report. Despite being the head of Procurement Department of First Finance, Chowdhury Moin Ahmed Mujib supplied goods to the First Finace at high price from his own institution named Business Link and Business Communication Services. Moin’s supplier institituon was shown only in paper after his wife’s name, thus making a huge amount of money, making fake bills. Bangladesh Bank took punitive actions against Moin. The actions include either a fine of Tk10 lakh or a three-year jail sentence or both. Later Moin was terminated from the institution, following the recommendation of investigation report.