Bangladesh Bank has detected a significant sum of cash, Tk 350 million, in the bank accounts of the managing director of the private National Credit and Commerce Bank Ltd. (NCC), Mosleh Uddin Ahmed. The deposits have been made by borrowers of the bank, consulting firms, financial institutions as well from the stock market.
Special investigations by the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) revealed this information. The transactions were made in the names of the MD and his wife through several banks, financial institutions and brokerage houses. BFIU has seized Mosleh Uddin Ahmed's accounts with five banks including NCC, Jamuna Bank, Prime Bank, City Bank and Premier Bank as well as with Reliance Finance and International Leasing.
In the special report BFIU said the MD had abused power, resorted to corruption and evaded taxes.
Letters have been sent to the NBR (National Board of Revenue) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to carry out investigations into the sources of Mosleh Uddin’s income and wealth. Bangladesh Bank has started procedures towards his removal.
BFIU, operated by Bangladesh Bank officials, scrutinises money laundering and terror financing. Head of the agency, Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, told Prothom Alo there were some discrepancies in the transactions, adding that the accounts were seized for further investigation. As per the law, the issue is being forwarded to other authorities for further action, he said.
Mosleh Uddin Ahmed was the deputy managing director of Jamuna Bank till 2015. He joined as additional managing director of NCC Bank on 9 December 2015. In 2017, he was appointed as the MD there.
Mosleh Uddin, however, denied that the cash was illegally procured. "I worked at several national and international banks in my 30-year career and taught at various universities too.” He explained that he sold “land worth Tk 40 million” and his wife, too, was a professional. “I can account for all my cash," he said adding, "I am a victim of vengeance."
According to the BFIU investigation, a total of Tk 350 million has been deposited in the five banks, two financial institutions and four brokerage houses. Among this, Tk 599,840 of his monthly salary is deposited in his account with the NCC Bank Bhaban branch. He opened a foreign currency account there too. Over a period of time, $ 5,000 was deposited in the account and then on 31 January another $ 8,000 was deposited.
Though Mosleh Uddin joined NCC Bank in 2015, deposits were regularly being made in his Jamuna Bank account. He has a joint account with his wife, Luna Sharmin, at Jamuna Bank. Deposits of Tk 60 million and Tk 3.50 million were made respectively. Another Tk 40 million was deposited by Western Engineering on 5, 12, 15 and 25 April in 2018.
Mosleh Uddin Ahmed and his wife have three accounts operated individually and jointly. A total of Tk 60 million was deposited in these accounts. Another Tk 43.3 million was credited to his account with the Islamic banking branch of Prime Bank. His Premier Bank account was credited with Tk 20.8 million.
He has deposits of Tk 40 million and Tk 20 million with Reliance Finance and International Leasing respectively. He also opened accounts with four brokerage houses including City Brokerage, Securities, CSML Securities and E-Securities under the NCC Bank. A total of Tk 20.26 million were in the accounts.
Who gave the cash?
Western Engineering which credited Mosleh Uddin’s account with Tk 40 million is a client of both Jamuna Bank and NCC Bank. He opened fixed deposits of Tk 30 million and Tk 10 million with the cash.
"Western Engineering was never my client during my career," Mosleh Uddin said, "They had paid NCC Bank with the privilege of interest remission before I joined the bank," and added, "Though they sought loans, I didn't approve."
"I've sold land to them and have kept the Tk 40 million with two financial institutions," he said.
According to the investigation report, the land he sold to the Western Engineering at Ashulia last year was worth Tk 5.1 million while he took Tk 40 million for it.
An NCC Bank official deposited Tk 4.5 million in Mosleh Uddin’s NCC bank account on 3 December 2018 and withdrew the amount the following day. This was used to buy saving certificate later, the investigation further revealed.
"We've met the Bangladesh bank governor regarding the issue on Sunday night and informed him that we’d take action if he was proved guilty," chairman of NCC Bank Nurun Newaz Selim told Prothom Alo. "But no one innocent should be made guilty," he said.
In a statement submitted to the NBR on 30 June last year, Moslem Uddin said, he owned Tk 206.7 million in total. He included the NCC Bank account assessment only there and said he earned Tk 8.8 million in the fiscal 2017-18. The statement did not mention his funds with other banks or in the stock market.
BFIU has termed this as false information in his income statement which is a 'tax related offence' according to the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012.
Bank MDs are not abiding by the rules nowadays, former Bangladesh Bank governor Saleh Uddin Ahmed told Prothom Alo. They are obliged to follow the orders of the board of directors, he said.
This has happened as they are not upholding the interest of the general depositors which is frustrating for the whole banking sector, he observed.
Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, said top officials of any bank are supposed to the strongest protectors of the clients' deposits, they are misappropriating the funds.
Without the help of the MDs, it was not possible for the big businessmen to extract money from the banks, he said. These funds remain in default for years, he said.
Just the removal of the dishonest banker was not enough. He must face criminal charges leading to exemplary punishment, he said and emphasised that the central bank must exercise its power to save the banking sector and the government must not intervene.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin.