Corruption and irregularities affect NRBC Bank

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Many board members and top management of NRB Commercial Bank are facing charges of corruption, money laundering, and recruiting scams; Parvez Tamal, the chairman of the bank, is the target of these allegations.

According to a Bangladesh Bank audit, the bank broke banking regulations by charging higher rates for a variety of services that it outsourced to the businesses connected to NRBC Bank board members and by giving them access to credit facilities.

The financial integrity and customer services departments of Bangladesh prepared the report in 2022.

Earlier in July 2016, the central bank conducted another investigation into the alleged loan irregularities by the bank directors and its chairman.

The 2016 BB investigation found a number of NRBC Bank directors obtaining loans worth Tk 16 crore in the name of their various companies, according to a letter from former BB governor Fazle Kabir to then finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.

Despite finding such irregularities, Fazle Kabir suggested Muhith not take action against the directors on the pretext of depositors ‘losing confidence’ in the bank.

According to the 48th board meeting minutes held on December 7, 2016, chairman Tamal, directors Adnan Imam and Rafiqul Islam Mia, and sponsor AM Tushar Iqbal obtained Tk 64 crore in anonymous loans in the names of Pubali Construction, NES Trading, an NGO called the Voluntary Organisation for Social Development (VOSD), Lanta Services, and Ornita Agro.

The loans were allegedly taken without the disclosure of the directors’ affiliations with these companies.

The Anti-Corruption Commission last year found that officials from NRBC Bank and Ixora Apparels Limited colluded to inflate a loan amount to Tk 78.57 crore without sufficient collateral, aiming for unfair benefits. They failed to repay or recover the amount, leading to misappropriation.

Both entities are accused of not repatriating $7.05 lakh of export proceeds, potentially engaging in money laundering.

Bangladesh Bank faced criticism for its silence on these irregularities.

After Fazle Kabir, Abdur Rouf Talukder was appointed as the Bangladesh Bank governor in July 2022.

Mohammad Ahsan Habib, a retired army official and brother-in-law of current BB governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, was appointed as VP of NRBC Bank on a contractual basis in August 2022, despite having no banking experience and violating the bank’s recruitment policy, which required 13 years of banking experience.

Within a year, Ahsan Habib was made permanent, promoted to the rank of SVP, and appointed as company secretary of the bank, allegedly to get benefits from his relationship with the governor.

BB spokesperson and executive director Mezbaul Haq said that the BB had already taken some initiatives considering the 2022 report of its inspection team.

Regarding the allegations, NRBC Bank chairman Parvez Tamal claimed that there were no irregularities in this bank.

‘Those who were previously punished for irregularities are now bringing allegations of irregularities to tarnish the bank’s reputation. Some issues are being brought to the fore that are no longer valid,’ he told New Age.

‘Our activities fall within the purview of the off-site and on-site supervision of Bangladesh Bank,’ he added.

The Bangladesh Bank inspection team found that NRB Commercial Bank chairman Parvez Tamal and eight other directors were directly involved in the recruitment business as their company, NRB Management Ltd, recruited a total of 3,714 people between January 2021 and April 2022 at NRBC Bank, which was a conflict of interest.

NRBC Management Limited charged around Tk 11.19 crore during the period as a service charge.

The bank’s nine directors, including chairman Parvez Tamal, were the direct beneficiaries of it.

Around 105 candidates were recommended and pre-selected by the chairman and associates, who conducted written and oral tests on the same day.

The report said that the directors gave priority to the interests of their own company instead of the depositors’ interests.

The revenue of NRBC Bank was transformed into expenditures, reducing the profits of the bank, which harmed the interest of depositors, which was a punishable offence under the Penal Code 1860.

The bank appointed three retired army officers to the VP post, despite their lack of prior banking experience.

An applicant for the VP post must have minimum 13 years of bank experience, according to the bank’s recruitment policy.

According to a special inspection report of Bangladesh Bank’s FICSD, it was found that the bank resorted to ingenuity in the recruitment of pre-selected persons, conducting written and oral tests on the same day, ignoring the instructions of the recruitment board, and managing the process in an unscrupulous manner.

Furthermore, there was an allegation that the bank chairman took Tk 5 lakh to 6 lakh in advance from job applicants against the recruitment agreement, but the allegation couldn’t be confirmed, the FICSD report said.

According to the FICSD report, the managing director has been accused of providing 4 to 13 increments to 27 employees.

The bank approved Tk 5 crore loans to Papa Roma with fake land documents, known to the board and management.

The BB inspection team found that NRB Commercial Bank Limited approved Tk 5 crore loans in 2019 to Papa Roma with the security of fake land documents.

The board and management were well aware of the false land documents and also knew that working capital loans would be used to purchase the lands, violating BB’s rules.

They knew that Papa Roma’s proprietor, Saifur Rahman, wasn’t the owner of the land, and he would purchase the land with working capital loans. It was a punishable offence as the activities of the bank violated the BRPD’s rules.

The bank chairman, however, claimed that they had already recovered the outstanding loans from Papa Roma.

Source: New Age


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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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