'Irregularities in appointment and promotion of officials at BASIC Bank unearthed'

Abdul Hye Bacchu

During the tenure of state-owned BASIC Bank former chairman Abdul Hye Bacchu, irregularities and corruption in the appointment and promotion of officials have taken place between 2009 and 2013, according to a special audit report of Commercial Audit Directorate under the Comptroller of Auditor General (CAG).

Abdul Hye alias Bacchu had been chairman of BASIC Bank between September 2009 and 6 July 2014.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) executive director Ifthekharuzzaman said it is not like that a section of officers are involved in such big irregularities. Without connection of high-ups it is not possible.

Whether there was misuse of power and financial transaction, that has to be examined, he said adding the ACC should look into it.

The audit directorate has given objections to appointment and promotion of 726 officials and employees.

These irregularities have been found after analysing recruitment-related and personal files of the bank during the audit of 2013, according to an audit report submitted to the public accounts committee in the parliament in the outgoing year of 30 December.

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Abdul Hye is from Bagerhat district. When he was chairman of BASIC Bank, 242 people were recruited from this district.

Once BASIC Bank was known as a reputed bank in the public sector. After the recruitment of Abdul Hye as chairman, the irregularities started. Between 2009 and 2012, there was a loan scam of Tk 350 billion in the Gulshan, Dilkusha and Shantinagar branches of the bank.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sued 156 people in 56 cases over loan scam and irregularities of the bank. However, Abdul Hye was not made accused in any of the cases.

Abdul Hye became a member of parliament from Bagerhat-1 (Chitalmari, Mollahat and Fakirhat) in the election of 1986.

When Awami League came to power in 2009, he was made chairman of BASIC Bank. His proximity with the government high-ups was widely discussed in the political arena.

Different types of recruitment

According to report of the audit directorate, Abu Shahid applied for job at BASIC Bank in May of 2012. He did not mention name of post in his application. He applied for a 'suitable' post. The human resource department considered him 'competent' for the post of manager and issued appointment letter next month. Then he was 42. However, according to the recruitment rules of bank, the highest age for the post is 40 years.

Abdul Gofur would work at a restaurant abroad. He never worked in a bank. He was appointed as assistant general manager at the age of 52. He did not need for any test for this. Abdul Gafur retired in 2019. According to recruitment rule of the bank of 2007, the highest age limit for the assistant general manager is 42 and needs 12 years of experience in the banking sector.

The audit directorate sought answers to the objections of recruitment and promotion in the bank. But after failing to get answer, the audit directorate issued a reminder to BASIC Bank in 2015. The BASIC Bank responded in June 2021. But the answers were not satisfactory.

The office of CAG has recommended to cancel recruitment and realise money paid as salaries and allowances from the officials and employees and to determine the responsibility of those involved in recruitment and promotion process through irregularities and take legal actions.

Moreover, the parliamentary committee vented its anger over irregularities in the recruitment. More than one member of the public accounts committee gave opinions to take actions against those who are involved in these irregularities and those who got appointment and promotion through irregularities. The public accounts committee formed a committee led by secretary of the financial institution division to investigate into the allegations further.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, public accounts committee president Rustom Ali Farazi said irregularities have taken place in the appointment of BASIC Bank.

The committee led by secretary of the financial institution division will separately carry out investigation against every official and employee and the committee has been given two months, he said adding the parliamentary committee will take decision once it gets the report.

What audit report reveals

Although equal rights have to be ensured in the recruitment of government organisations, 498 officials have been recruited violating the recruitment rules by the authorities of the bank. Those who have obtained one or more than one third class in academic life have been recruited.

In personal files of some officials, roll numbers, name of exam centres and date of exams have not been mentioned. Moreover, names and signatures of inspectors and examiners and dates have not been written. This proves officials have been recruited through fake examination.

In some cases, recruitment has been given without full bio-data of the applicants. In many cases, applications and bio-data have been submitted much later after issuing the recruitment letters.

Some 29 officials have been recruited without any advertisement. Fake examinations have been taken from them.

Irregularities in the promotion

Accelerated promotion is given for accomplishing outstanding performance in the bank. But the authorities have given such promotion to 30 people who have no outstanding performance.

These incidents have taken place during the tenure of former chairman Abdul Hye Bacchu. He was not available over phone on Sunday.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, managing director of the bank Anisur Rahman said they would carry out the decisions the public accounts committee will give about the audit objections.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.