A cooperative society called ‘Durbeen’ embezzled Tk5m in Kaliganj and Patgram upazilas of Lalmonirhat.
The members of the cooperative realised they had been cheated by the officials of the society when they went to the office and found it locked with no one there to answer their queries.
Locals said members of the society collected around Tk5m from thousands of people in the district, promising to provide them with depositors’ loans in return. Hoping the cooperative could help with their finances, locals deposited the required amount with the society.
Motiur Rahman, 42, a small trader from the bazar at Burimari land port of Patgram upazila said he became a member of Durbeen on Jaunuary 1 this year. “I deposited Tk3,600 for a loan. The local representatives told me I could loan Tk40,000 from the Cooperative Samity Durbeen for my business.”
He said the staff of the society went into hiding before giving the loan to him.
A small fruit trader Bokul Miah, 44, also based in the same local market said he deposited Tk4,500 to the cooperative in the hope of getting a loan worth Tk50,000. He said the staff fled before he could get the loan promised.
Mofidul Islam, 45, a grocery trader from Bhotmari bazar of Kaliganj upazila said he deposited Tk47,00 to the organisation for a loan of Tk50,000 year but there was no sign of the organisation’s staff.
Like the three men above, at least another 120 small traders from Bhotmari and Bhullarhat bazars deposited large sums of money in the hope of getting loans but their hopes have been crushed by the cheating cooperative.
Lalmonirhat District Cooperative Officer Nur Mohammad said he was preparing to take legal action against the people involved in the cooperative society. His office has already received a probe report from the Kaliganj office, he said.