Shafiq Rahman : Md Rezaul Haque has resigned as chairman of Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) amid multiple allegations of terror financing, money laundering and corruption. The bank’s Executive Committee Chairman Md Anisul Huq and Managing Director Shahid Hossain also quitted on the same grounds.
Rezaul Haque has been succeeded by former Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University Anwarul Azim Arif in the bank. On Sunday, the trio decided to resign at a meeting of the board of directors at the bank’s head office in Motijheel of the capital.
After taking over as chairman in 2013, Rezaul, a retired army major, plunged the bank into a deep crisis by doing pecuniary irregularities. He allegedly embezzled several thousand crores of Taka and financed militancy. Despite having ownership of below 1 percent share of the bank, he became its chairman through abuse of power.
An allegation runs rife that Rezaul, in collaboration with SIBL board of directors, facilitated disbursement of huge amount of loan in favour of dubious organisations and siphoned off the money. It is due to him that SIBL is among the banks and financial organisations blamed for terror patronisation.In the wake of the deadly militant attack on Holey Artisan cafe in Gulshan, investigators found evidence of SIBL’s involvement in terror financing.
The entire CSR (corporate social responsibility) fund of the bank was provided to a ‘certain political quarter’ bypassing senior officials. According to SIBL, Anti-Corruption Commission and intelligence agencies, Rezaul used to attend office at Motijheel regularly and interfere in every decision to get his evil agenda implemented.The directors were kept in dark about many decisions taken by him.Had anybody opposed his decision, s/he would have faced his wrath.
Hailing from Begumganj in Noakhali, Rezaul joined Bangladesh Army and went on forced retirement in 1983. He served a hospital in Saudi Arabia for several years. After returning home, he was involved with SIBL. During his stay in the KSA, he was affiliated with Freedom Party, a political party formed by killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Rezaul maintained a close proximity with Bangabandhu’s killers Col (retd) Syed Faruk Rahman, Col (retd) Khandker Abdur Rashid and Lt Col (retd) Noor Chowdhury. In the 1988 parliamentary election, he extended financial support to Freedom Party candidate Col (retd) Abdur Rashid for contesting from Chandina in Comilla.
Rezaul took part in the election campaign and bribed voters. He gave financial aid to BNP and Jamaat activists and underground cadres of Freedom Party with a mala fide intention to commit sabotage and criminalise politics.
Rezaul was the family planning affairs secretary of BNP in 2012. He was found to be involved in violent anti-government movement, in which a large number people were killed and huge properties damaged through arson attacks and sabotage.
The movement aimed at foiling the general election scheduled for January 5, 2014. As he was SIBL chairman at that time, he financed pickets. He wasted the entire CSR fund for the purpose. Rezaul has reportedly decided to contest the next election as BNP candidate in Noakhali-3 (Begumganj) constituency.
During his tenure as SIBL chairman, he allegedly financed members of the banned militant outfit HuJi in the name Islamic banking. He recruited leaders and activists of anti-liberation party Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir. Such recruitment aimed at increasing his supporters in the bank. In 2015, he bought a luxury car for Tk 1.25 crore. He got another car involving Tk 3.50 crore in April last.
Rezaul presented several directors with costly vehicles to establish his control over the board of directors. The directors include Rabban Ali, Jabbar Mollah and Anisul Haque. One Abdul Awal Patwary, who is facing a case for smuggling, has been made director at his behest.
Rezaul appointed 350 officials in the bank in exchange for Tk 6-7 lakh in bribes from each. He disbursed an interest-free loan of Tk 80 crore to Social Islami Bank Foundation Hospital.The public money was given illegally for buying medical equipment. His wife is the managing director of the hospital and director of the foundation. There are 60 staff members in the hospital. They are paid by the bank illegally.
The bank authorities submitted a bill of Tk 2.60 crore for the cost incurred to print 80,000 copies of the Annual Report 2016 at Tk 355 per piece. But there have been allegations that the number of printed copies would not exceed even 5,000. Besides, the bank management reportedly embezzles millions of taka every year in name of calendar printing.
Sources claimed that SIBL Chairman Rezaul sponsors all the costs of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s office through a manager, Tareq Murshed. In a letter to Bangladesh Bank, the bank’s former chairman Sultan Mahmud Chowdhury earlier requested to investigate the allegation against the incumbent chairman.The bank management approved a loan to Anwar Mirza of Farhana Textile and Noakhali Ware Mills Ltd. The firms are accused of grabbing government property.
Recently, the bank authorities approved a large chunk of loan amounting to Tk 65 crore to a 78-years-old Golam Kabir who has a dual citizenship. Besides, Tk 160 crore was provided to a tailoring shop, Top Ten Tailors, without any security deposits. The proposal for a loan of Tk 168 crore to Anwara Medical College in Dhanmondi has already been approved. The hospital is already a defaulter of Tk 1,800 crore from different banks.
A large construction company is a big defaulter at SIBL’s Principal Branch where the bank official Tareq Murshed sanctioned around Tk 500 crore to different subsidiaries of the company.Sources also said Mohammad Anisul Hoque, a director of Hamdard Laboratories, allegedly sponsored different activities of Jamaat-E-Islami through the management of the bank as he is a close aide of SIBL Chairman Rezaul.
Several other business entities have large amounts of default loans with the bank. These firms include Panama Textile (Tk 200 crore), Al Amin Beverage (Tk 40 crore). SIBL official Tareq Murshed facilitated the fund disbursement through a third-party company, ILC.
Mars Textile is a client of Chittagong Agrabad Branch of the bank with an outstanding loan of Tk 105 crore.
Another big firm Mustafa Corporation owes the bank Tk 115 crore against different accounts opened in names of company employees.
In an independent investigation, it was found that BNP leader Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu maintained two fake FDR accounts at the bank in the name of Mohammad Momin Uddin. The bank chairman paid back the principal amount and benefits amounting to Tk 1.5 crore to the BNP leader without any permission from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) as suggested by the lawyers of a case pending over the bank accounts in question.
SIBL Managing Director Shahid Hossain, former DMD and in-charge of investment department, allegedly cleared the LC payment against a shipment of M/S Faez Uddin and Co though the consignment never arrived in the country. That was a clear instance of money laundering.
The investigation also found that a leading real estate company has defaulted on Tk 100 crore at Gulshan Branch of the bank. The company took the loan against a land development project in Narayanganj, but the project made no progress.
Milton Trading has around Tk 14 crore default loans with the bank, but the bank has no documents on the purpose of the loan, and where the funds have been spent.Dewing Bang Dying Limited is a corporate client at Gulshan Branch of the bank. The company laundered money abroad through fake LCs and the company has an outstanding loan of Tk 300 crore at the bank.
SAS Fashion Wear is an export-oriented garment factory and a client of SIBL Banani branch. The company has no production and shipment, but it browed Tk 25 crore from the bank.Ibrahim Consortium, a loan recipient of SIBL Principal Branch, owes Tk 110 crore to the bank. It collected goods and machinery under local LC but they could not trade any goods in reality.
Opal Trading is a defaulter of Tk 90 crore from the Gulshan Branch of the bank. It was alleged that the owner of the enterprise bought a house in Canada by laundering the fund. Khalil Traders also owes Tk 24 crore to the bank and now there is no trace of the company.
Mim Enterprise took a loan from GEC More branch, Chittagong and defaulted on loans of Tk 100 crore. It was learnt that the owner of the company is now living abroad.
SK Steel and Fortune Industries Ltd defaulted on loans of Tk 60 crore and Tk 44 crore respectively. It was alleged that the two enterprises laundered the money abroad.M/S Moria Steel owes Tk 100 crore to the bank. It took the loan for ship-breaking but later laundered that money abroad.
Eastern Corporation has an outstanding loan of Tk 55 crore with the bank. This enterprise took loans from Chittagong Agrabad Branch but the purpose of the loan was not clear. The firm did not repay the loan. Super Six Ship Breakers took Tk 35 crore loan from Chittagong Agrabad branch of the bank, but the owner absconded abroad.
Similarly, Kumra Ship Breakers, Easin Enterprise and Legend Textile took loans from Chittagong Agrabad Branch. They owe the bank Tk 21 crore, Tk 26 crore, and Tk 100 crore respectively. The enterprises did not repay their loans.
Ahmad Mujtoba Steel Industries took Tk 35 crore loans from Chittagong Agrabad Branch. After taking the loans in the name of ship-breaking businesses, they siphoned off the money to Singapore.Mile Fabrics is another loan recipient of the same branch of the bank. Chittagong Agrabad branch sanctioned the loan of Tk 13 crore for export purpose but the enterprise embezzled the fund.
M/S Dutta Enterprise defaulted on loans of Tk 45 crore. The firm took the loan for importing goods from India. The firm imported and sold the goods secretly, but did not repay the bank’s money.M/S Liton Traders, a loan recipient of Bogra branch, defaulted on loans of Tk 30 crore with the bank. It also embezzled the fund. Moriom Spinning Mills took loans of Tk 55 crore from Madhabdi, Narsingdi Branch. But the firm did not repay the loan. It is alleged that they diverted the fund and used for other purposes.