Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The central bank of Bangladesh is collecting information on inland bill purchase (IBP) to find out the link of the bills with the Hallmark scam that involved the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch of Sonali Bank Ltd, officials said.
A total of 19 inspection teams of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) are now collecting information from 50 branches of 27 commercial banks located in the capital Dhaka and Narayanganj.
The inspectors have been asked to assess the value of the IBP linked with the Hallmark scam and identify the persons who were responsible for the financial scam.
The probe teams would also examine diligence of the bank officials concerned in purchasing the IBP, a senior official of Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the inspectors would have to collect the name of the bank branch or the person, who benefited finally.
The teams were assigned on September 13 last in this connection and it asked the probe teams to submit their reports to the general manager of the Department of Financial Integrity and Customer Services (DFICS) of the BB by September 18.
“The BB is now collecting the information as part of our monitoring to assess authenticity as well as value of the IBP concerning the Hallmark scam,” a central banker told BBN without elaborating.
The BB’s latest move came against the backdrop of the rising trend of large-scale irregularities in purchasing and providing acceptance of bills against local LCs (letter of credit) –both foreign and local currencies denominated –by different bank branches in the recent months.
The total number of overdue accepted bills in the banking sector stood at 7,260, involving around US$ 363 million (BDT 29.71 billion) as of June 30 last, according to the central bank statistics.
Earlier on September 13 last, the BB instructed the commercial banks to settle all overdue accepted bills amicably within the next 15 days to ensure discipline in the country’s banking sector.
The Hallmark Group and some other business entities have allegedly swindled funds worth minimum Tk 35.47 billion from the Sonali Bank. The embezzlement, also involving 57 branches of 27 commercial banks, used the accommodation bill against back-to-back letters of credit (LCs) by ignoring banking rules and regulations, according to the BB officials.
BBN/SSR/AD-18Sept12-12:30 pm (BST)
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