ACC approves charges against Abdul Hye Bacchu at last

Former Basic Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu
File photo

The Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) has finally approved the charges framed against former Basic Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye in a case filed on the allegation of laundering and embezzling money from the bank.

The ACC on Monday finalised the charge sheets of a total of 59 cases related to money laundering involving the BASIC Bank after a long discussion. Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu was accused in 58 of these cases.

The ACC said some 46 bank officials, including Sheikh Abdul Hye, and 101 clients of the BASIC Bank were made accused in these cases. They are accused of misappropriating a total of Tk 22.65 billion from the bank.

Five ACC officials submitted a report following a lengthy investigation. The ACC on Monday approved the charge sheets prepared for these cases to place in the court.

ACC secretary Md Mahbub Hossain confirmed this while briefing the newspersons at the ACC headquarters in the capital’s Shegunbagicha on Monday. He said the charge sheets would be submitted in the court very soon.

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The BASIC Bank was once highly regarded as a state-owned reputed bank for providing good banking service. However, it has been mired in corruption and irregularities since Sheikh Abdul Hye took over the charge in 2009.

In three years from 2009 and 2012, the bank had disbursed an unusual amount of Tk 350 billion as loans from its Gulshan, Dilkusha and Shantinagar branches, which is one of the biggest loan scams in the history of the country.

Later in September 2015, the ACC filed 56 cases accusing some 156 in connection with the loan scams and irregularities of the BASIC Bank. However, Abdul Hye was not among the accused in these cases.

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According to the sources in the Bangladesh Bank, a total of Tk 66.73 billion was disbursed as loan from the BASIC Bank within just four years after Sheikh Abdul Hye was appointed the chairman in 2009. Of it, around Tk 40 billion was disbursed defying the law.

These facts came up in the investigation of the Bangladesh Bank and Sheikh Abdul Hye was removed from the post consequently. The central bank issued a letter to the finance ministry to dissolve the board of directors on 29 May that year. Abdul Hye resigned a few days later on 4 July.

The financial statement 2021 of the BASIC Bank termed Sheikh Abdul Hye’s days in charge ‘uncomfortable’. The ACC embarked on an investigation after allegations of irregularities were brought up in 2013. Later in 2015, it filed a total of 56 cases in three days on 21, 22 and 23 September. Three more cases were filed in between 2019 and 2020 and some 156 were accused in these cases.

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Abdul Hye was elected a member of parliament from Bagerhat-1 constituency with Jatiya Party’s nomination in the general elections of 1986. He was appointed the chairman of the BASIC Bank after the ruling Awami League came to power in 2009.

His close relationship with the top echelons of the government is widely discussed in the country’s political arena.