ACC unaware of Sheikh Abdul Hye’s whereabouts

Former BASIC Bank chairman Abdul Hye alias BacchuFile photo

There have been widespread speculations regarding the whereabouts of former BASIC Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye since his name appeared on the charge sheet prepared by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) eight years after the case was filed on the allegation of corruption.

Where is he? Is he in Dhaka or in his village in Bagerhat? Has he gone to Singapore or migrated to Canada or USA permanently like many others?

The ACC does not have answers to these questions. Abdul Hye has been accused in 58 of the 59 cases filed on corruption charges.

The ACC is going to place the charge sheets in the court within a few days. Although the ACC has made him accused in 58 cases, the question remains as to whether they will arrest him or not. There is no answer to the question whether the ACC will be able to bring him to book in case he fled the country.

When asked, ACC commissioner Md Mojammel Haque told Prothom Alo over the phone, “We had information about former BASIC Bank chairman Abdul Hye even a year ago. However, we are now unaware of his whereabouts. We think that legal actions will be taken following the submission of the charge sheets.”

Many are pointing out that the ACC included his name in the charge sheets only after being confirmed that he was not in the country.

Speaking to Prothom Alo in this regard, Mojammel Haque said, “This is not true at all. Even if it is the fact, the ACC should be given credit for including him as the accused in the charge sheet. Even if he is abroad, he will not be able to come back as he will be arrested upon returning home. However, he has his legal rights. If he can prove his innocence in the court, then there will be no more questions.”

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Prothom Alo visited the two houses of Abdul Hye in the capital on Tuesday to know his whereabouts.

Sujit Debnath, security guard of one of the two houses, told Prothom Alo that he had been working there for five years, but had never seen Abdul Hye in the house.

Sheikh Abdul Hye bought a house on one and a half bighas of land in the cantonment area in the capital at a cost of Tk 1.1 billion. The investigation report of the BASIC Bank says that a large portion of the money disbursed during Abdul Hye’s time in the office was given as bribes to him and his brother Sheikh Shahriar alias Panna. Visiting that house on Tuesday, it was learnt that he does not live there. And it was found that Abdul Hye’s wife, children and his brother are the owners of this house.

The Commercial Audit Directorate conducted a special audit in 2014 on the loan management of BASIC Bank from 2010 to 2013. According to the audit report, there were a total of 111 unprecedented incidents of misappropriation involving an amount of Tk 59.46 billion. However, the ACC has raised an allegation of embezzling Tk 22.65 billion.

Who is Abdul Hye?

Sheikh Abdul Hye once ran a small business. He became a local Jatiya Party leader during the regime of Hussain Mohammad Ershad. How he became so close to the top echelons of the government from being only a local JaPa leader is still a mystery.  

He was elected the member of the parliament (MP) from Bagerhat-1 constituency with the nomination of JaPa in 1986. He also served as the chairman of the Bagerhat Zilla Parishad from 12 October 1988 to 6 November 1990 as additional duty. He was also the president of Bagerhat district Jatiya Party at the time.

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Speaking to the people of Bagerhat, it has been learnt that during the nine years of Ershad’s regime, he used to introduce himself as the younger brother of late Naziur Rahman Manju, minister of Ershad’s government, despite havingno blood connection between them.

He is the son of late Sheikh Abdul Hamid of Aduadihi village in Mollahat upazila of Bagerhat. Abdul Hamid was a sub-inspector of police by profession.

The locals say Abdul Hye was not involved in politics as a student. He was not involved in politics after the end of Ershad’s regime either. He lived in Dhaka Cantonment during the two-year regime of army backed caretaker government from 2007 to end of 2008.

There is an association of the owners of the houses in the cantonment. Abdul Hye was the general secretary of that association for a long time. The chief of army is the president of the association. Therefore, the then army chief Moeen U Ahmed was the president of the association at the time.

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Nine months after coming to power in 2009, the Awami League started appointing party activists as chairman and director of different banks. Abdul Hye was appointed the chairman of the BASIC Bank on a three-year contract in the same year. Before him, the industry secretaries used to get the post by default.

The fall of the BASIC Bank started right after Abdul Hye took over the charge. He ran the bank without bothering about the laws and provisions. He defied the laws in everything, from disbursing loans to recruiting people.

He created a false notion everywhere that he had close ties with the top level of the government. This is why none of the government agencies dared taking any action against him as of yesterday, Tuesday.

Despite media reports on his corruption and irregularities, the government reappointed him the chairman again in 2012. He resigned from the post citing personal reasons from the home of then finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith a day before the end of his second term as the BASIC Bank chairman in July 2014.

Locals in Bagerhat said Abdul Hye alias Bacchu used to run a business of motor parts. He also had a business of installing lifts in public and private offices. However, his financial condition started improving drastically after he became the BASIC Bank chairman.

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Abdul Hye, embarked upon a trawler business in 2011, while holding the post of BASIC Bank chairman and within just two years he became the owner of 11 trawlers worth Tk 1.5 billion.

The BM Computers, Crown Properties and the Eden Fisheries Limited are three of the companies owned by him.

Abdul Hye used to live with his wife and children in Dhaka. His brothers and sisters are Shiekh Wahiduzzaman, Shiekh Khaelquzzaman, Sheikh Shahriar Panna, Sheikh Sayeeda Bhulu, Sheikh Momtaz Rumi, Sheikh Shiuli and Sheikh Jony.

Speaking regarding this to Prothom Alo, Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) Anis A Khan said, “The BASIC Bank is a big example of how a bank could be destroyed singlehanded by a person. The people behind the fall of BASIC Bank should be brought to book for the sake of the country’s economy and banking sector. It is a positive sign that the ACC has made him an accused at last. We can wait for the punishment of the people behind this massive misappropriation of money.”