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Dhaka Tribune

Ministry seeks details from Evaly on money stuck in payment gateways

The ministry issued a letter to Evaly Chairman Shamima Nasrin on Thursday regarding the matter to help facilitate refunds and also seeking the exact amount of money that has been stuck

Update : 06 Dec 2022, 08:24 PM

The Commerce Ministry has sought a detailed list from the infamous e-commerce platform Evaly on the number of disgruntled customers as well as merchants whose money has been stuck in payment gateways. 

The ministry issued a letter to Evaly Chairman Shamima Nasrin on Thursday regarding the matter to help facilitate refunds and also seeking the exact amount of money that has been stuck.

In the letter, the management of the company has been asked to respond by December 11.

According to Commerce Ministry sources, although the ministry has been trying to start the refund process, it does not have the exact details about the number of people affected or the associated amount, making the refunding process difficult.

The information is crucial to the ministry in refunding the money that was stuck in payment gateways.

The ministry will also be issuing the same letter to other similar platforms, including Eorange, to begin reimbursing their aggrieved clients as well.

As of last week, the ministry was able to refund around Tk303 crores to 34,670 disgruntled customers of 13 e-commerce platforms.

According to data from the Commerce Ministry, the refund was made via more than 37,402 transactions.

After staying closed for the past year, Evaly started selling products on October 28 through a campaign titled “Dhonnobad Utshob” (thank you festival) which aimed to celebrate the immense support received during its “crisis” period.

A new five-member board of directors was also formed to run the company.

The new board included the former chairman of Evaly Shamima Nasrin, Shamima's mother Farida Talukder Lily and her sister's husband Md Mamunur Rashid.

However, Evaly was not able to restart operations through its previous domain — — and had to use a new domain, which went live a week before the relaunch. 

According to the platform's chairman Shamima Nasrin, Amazon was unwilling to give access to the server without Rassel, the former managing director of the platform who is currently behind bars.

“We wanted to launch with our initial domain However, the domain is currently in process of being transferred from BTCL to us,” the chairman of the company told the media following a press conference earlier. 

As the platform started operating under a new domain, neither the old data of consumers nor the amount of pending money is accessible for now.

A missing server password is holding up all payments of Evaly customers and merchants as it contains data of all buyer and seller transactions. 

Without that data, the worth and veracity of the claims cannot be estimated, according to Evaly's court-appointed Managing Director Mahbub Kabir Milon, who resigned last month.

“Hopefully, we will get it soon. But don't panic. All old data is protected by Amazon. We hope to be able to resolve the old server issue soon,” Nasrin said last month.

Earlier, the High Court appointed a five-member board of directors for the e-commerce platform in October 2021 to run its activities. Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, a former justice of the appellate division of the Supreme Court, was made chairman of the board.

However, on September 21, the five-member board turned in its 3,500-page audit report to the court as well as their resignations and individual reports on the company.

Auditors found that Evaly was accountable for more than Tk6,000 crore-worth transactions but had "very poor, unreliable, unorganized, incomplete books and records."

Neither the list of customers who paid advances to the company nor the list of merchants could be obtained.

The board also found some copies of cash cheques. But there was no mention of who were those issued to or for what purpose.

Similarly, the audit found many vouchers were dispensed. But there was no mention of why those were made and for whom.

The company also made fake audit reports on the letterhead of chartered accountancy firm SR Islam & Co.

The audit could not determine whether further transactions took place beyond the seven bank accounts.

Furthermore, Evaly dispersed its payroll in cash. Employees were shown a salary of Tk1 lakh but were given Tk65,000 in cash. There was no tax deduction.

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