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Nine years on, ACC yet to finish BASIC Bank loan scam probe

June 09, 2019 00:00:00

The Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to charge anyone in court in dozens of cases filed over Tk 35 billion loan scams at BASIC Bank nine years after initial and formal investigation, reports bdnews24.com.

The money went out of the state-owned bank's Dilkusha, Gulshan and Shantinagar branches in Dhaka through loans given beyond rules between 2009 and 2012 when former Jatiya Party MP Abdul Hye Bachchu was the chairman.

The then board of directors is accused of clearing loans without collateral and using false documents and fictitious names and organisations in violation of the rules and regulations.

The ACC started an initial investigation into the loan frauds in 2010 and finally filed 56 cases with three police stations in the capital against 156 people launching the formal investigation in 2015.

"The investigation into a number of cases is at the final stage. We have also made progress in investigating the other cases. Now the issues are being checked in detail," said ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain, who is tasked with supervising the handling of the cases.

"I hope it will be possible to submit the investigation report to the commission within the fastest possible time," he told the news agency.

The accused include 26 officials of the bank, but the absence of Bachchu's name on the list of suspects prompted controversy, forcing the ACC to question the former chairman five times in 2016 and 2017.

Before the first round of quizzing started on Dec 4, 2016, Bachchu told the media he did not consider himself responsible for the scam.

After the interrogation on that day, he said he answered every question asked by the ACC and was ready to help the commission further.

Before Bachchu, the ACC quizzed 10 former directors of the bank who were part of the board headed by him.

After two and a half more years, one of the accused moved the High Court for bail and the court subsequently summoned the investigators for their explanation on their failure to complete the investigation within 180 days following the related laws.

Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim expressed ire and frustration when the investigators appeared in the court on May 30 last year.

Earlier at an event on Mar 31, 2017, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmud said he faced questions only on BASIC Bank while there were similar scams in other banks as well.

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