ACC spares influentials in Farmers Bank scam

Logo of Anti Corruption Commission. File photo
Logo of Anti Corruption Commission. File photo

The Anti-Corruption Commission is avoiding influential people in its investigation of the Farmers Bank scam, like it did in certain previous scams.

Though ACC launched its investigation against the bank's audit committee chairman Mahabubul Haque Chisty, it remains silent about the bank’s former chairman and former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir.

This is nothing new. Earlier, ACC filed 61 cases regarding the Basic Bank scam but its former chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bachchu was not named in the cases though Bangladesh Bank and the finance ministry in their reports held Bachchu responsible. No names of the bank’s executive committee members were mentioned in the cases either. Only after directives from the court, ACC interrogated Bachchu to an extent.

Bangladesh Bank in a report has held Farmers Bank’s former chairman Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and ex-chairman of its executive committee Mahabubul Haque Chisty largely responsible for the scams. The report also mentioned that they took share from the loans the clients took from the bank and the report mentioned this as unethical.

ACC has been investigating the Farmers Bank scam since last year. As part of this investigation, ACC has put an embargo on Mahabubul Haque Chisty, his five family members and 17 others including former top officials of the bank, from of leaving the country. However, the former chairman of the bank Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir was not the embargo list.

On Tuesday, ACC deputy director Shamsul Alam sent a letter to the police’s special branch additional inspector general.The letter stated that it was investigating the Farmers Bank scam and it has learnt from reliable sources that the accused are trying to leave the country along with their families. It said that it believes it is necessary to stop them from leaving the country. The name, address, passport number and national identification number of all the accused persons were mentioned in the letter.

The accused mentioned in the letter include Mahabubul Haque Chisty, his wife Ruji  Chisty, son Rashedul Haque Chisty, daughter Rimi Chisty, brother Majedul Haque Chisty, daughter-in-law Farhana Ahmed, Farmers Bank former managing director AKM Shamim, deputy managing director Abdul Motaleb Pathowari, senior executive vice president Gazi Salahuddin, executive vice president Mohammad Jahangir Alam Majumder, Senior vice president Ziauddin Ahmed, vice president Md. Lutful Haque and Monirul Haque, first vice president Md. Mofazzol Hossain, assistant vice president Shamsul Alam Bhuiyan, officer Mahbub Ahmed and Zakir Hossain.

Despite repeated attempts, ACC spokesperson and secretary Shamsul Arefin could not be reached for comment.

When contacted, former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Khondoker Ibrahim Khaled said that as there is information in the Bangladesh Bank report that Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir might have been involved in the scam.

“As such, it is reasonable to take similar measures against everyone who is involved in an incident. Otherwise, there will be questions about the Anti Corruption Commission,” he said. 

Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman said that as per the reports of Bangladesh Bank, the involvement of the bank’s former chairman cannot be denied and so if he is not included in the investigation, there is a scope of raising questions.

He said that people hope that the investigation on Farmers Bank scam is never based on partial information

Former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir’s Farmers Bank got approval on political grounds in 2012. There were many irregularities in the bank from the beginning. There was huge liquidity crisis in the bank. The crisis forced its chairman Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and Mahabubul Haque Chisty to leave their post from the banks. They even resigned from its director posts. Bangladesh Bank also terminated the bank’s managing director A K M Shamim.