The first joint-venture bank in Bangladesh is going through a series of crises after a graft case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the embezzlement of Tk383 crore between 2011 and 2015.
ACC filed the case with Banani Police Station in the city on June 28 in which 12 high-ups of AB Bank, including its Managing Director Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)-cum-company secretary Mahadev Sarker Sumon, were named, while 16 others were also accused.
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File photo of AB Bank President and Managing Director Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury AB Bank Website
Ever since the case has been filed, these 12 officials have refrained from attending office, causing many important issues including loan disbursements to remain unsettled.
None of the accused in the case was present during a recent visit to the bank’s head office by this correspondent.
Deputy Managing Director (DMD) Sajjad Hussain told the Dhaka Tribune that Managing Director Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury is on sick leave and that he was acting up to the role.
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File photo of Chief Financial Officer (CFO)-cum-company secretary Mahadev Sarker Sumon AB Bank Website
“We are going through a crisis. I cannot talk to you,” he said when asked about other officials and the scam.
The other accused in the graft case filed by the ACC are former foreign minister, also Pacific Telecom Bangladesh Limited (PTBL) chairman M Morshed Khan; vice-chairman Asgar Karim; director Nasrin Khan; and chief executive Mehbub Chowdhury.
According to the First Investigation Report (FIR) of the case, PTBL was given bank guarantee by the AB Bank, though the telecom company did not put up enough deposit as collateral.
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Thus the bank breached the existing policy of providing guarantee, the report said, adding that PTBL capitalised on getting the AB Bank's nod and obtained more bank loans from eight banks and financial institutions.
The FIR also mentioned that PTBL “resorted to deceit and corruption while the bank management did not check it”.
Meanwhile, the central bank in its investigation found that the credit disbursement process of AB bank is broken. It found that the bank is providing credit to some vested interest groups who have been already listed as loan defaulters, but they are still getting new loans.
Meanwhile, the bank restructured a loan of Tk1,323 crore, with permission from the central bank.
BB on May 3 appointed Sheikh Mozaffar Hossain, a general manager of the central bank, as an observer to AB Bank to closely monitor the bank's financial activities.