April 19, 2024, 2:57 am

LC fraudsters still out of reach

  • Update Time : Tuesday, November 29, 2022
  • 217 Time View

Tk 16,000 cr taken away by 2 fake cos from SIBL now talk of the country

Special Correspondent:

Allegation has been intensified that, two companies namely Sharp Knitting and Dyeing Industries Limited and Blythe Fashion Limited have taken away Tk 16,708 crore from Social Islami Bank through LC (letter of credit) fraud. The two institutions have taken the money by opening back to back LCs over the years despite not having a bonded warehouse license. The incidents have now become talk of the country. But, it has become very difficult to bring the fraudsters to the book.

Import of raw materials was shown on paper, but no product was exported on its contrary. These raw materials or products do not exist in the warehouse of the companies. The terrible incident of LC fraud was caught in Bangladesh Bank’s inspection.

This information is known from two separate letters of Bangladesh Bank sent to the Directorate of Customs and Investigation. Those involved in the investigation are raising the question whether this huge amount of money has been smuggled abroad with loans through manipulation.

According to the letter sent to the Directorate of Customs Intelligence from the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department of Bangladesh Bank on April 21 this year, a company named Sharp Knitting and Dyeing Industries Limited from the Banani branch of SIBL opened 889 back to back LCs between 2015 and 2021. Against these LCs, the bank has paid 158,50,24,000 dollars. The amount is Tk 16,642.75 crore in Bangladeshi currencies.

According to the Bonded Warehouse Licensing Rules of the National Board of Revenue, the license period for 100 percent export-oriented establishments is two years. Apart from this, the license has to be renewed every 2 years with a fee of Tk 5,000. There is a provision to keep the products in the warehouse for 24 months after manufacturing and in case of special products more time is given, if necessary.

A bonded warehouse license was issued on April 2 in 2003 in the name of Sharp Knitting at Tongi in Gazipur, but it was not renewed thereafter. Not only that, the ownership of the company has been transferred repeatedly since that time. As a result, the license of the establishment has expired and it does not come under duty free facility under the bond.

Social Islami Bank’s Banani branch has been issued LCs in the name of this institution for 6 years, even though there is no license for the bonded warehouse.

According to Bangladesh Bank’s inspection report, there is an obligation to manufacture and export products from raw materials imported through back-to-back LC under duty concession facility. But none of the products were exported from Sharp Knitting. The inspection team of Bangladesh Bank did not find any stock of imported raw materials or manufactured products in the warehouse of the so-called company.

During a spot visit to the Sharp Knitting and Dyeing Industries Limited in  Pagar area of ​​Tongi in Gazipur recently, this correspondent found that the industry was closed. When asked, locals including a security guard of the factory anonymously said that, the company has been closed for more than three months. At one time, hundreds of workers were working there, but now there are 7 to 8 workers only for dyeing.

The watchman said, “I heard that there is a lot of debt in the name of the factory. Sometimes people from Social Islami Bank come to know about the state of the factory.”

Amjad Hossain, Manager of Banani branch of SIBL, said, “I took charge of this branch a month ago. This is the first time I heard from you about the LC of such a huge amount of money. I do not know the matter.”

Besides, Bangladesh Bank’s inspection team also found major irregularities in the LC of Blythe Fashion Limited, a customer of Social Islami Bank’s Mirpur branch.

According to another letter sent by Bangladesh Bank’s Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department to the Directorate of Customs and Investigation on June 8, this company does not have a bonded warehouse license. However, from 21 September 2015 to 12 September 2018, goods worth $67,40,416 were imported through 123 Master LCs from Mirpur branch of Social Islami Bank in favor of Blythe Fashion, against which, goods worth $842,663 were not exported.

At the same time, 350 back to back LCs have been issued in favor of that customer. The amount of which is $55,07,689. In other words, the company did not export products worth about $63,50,353 in two rounds, which is Tk 66.67 crore in Bangladeshi currency.

Bangladesh Bank’s letter stated that the Blythe Fashion factory was closed during the bank’s own inspection and no imported raw materials or manufactured goods were found there.

The factory of Blythe Fashion in Govindbari area of ​​Kashimpur in Gazipur is closed. Three security guards were found on duty. They said that, the factory has been closed since 2018.

M Samsul Arefin, of Belkuchi upazila in Sirajganj district and his brother Shahriar Parvez are owners this establishment. Currently both of them are staying in USA. It is looked after by one of their relatives named Kabir Hossain. The factory is currently supervised by the Social Islami Bank. The bank is trying to sell the company.

Security guards also said that, the value of this factory is Tk 10 crore to Tk 11 crore.

When asked, Mozammel Haque, Manager of SIBL’s Mirpur branch, said, “A case has been filed to recover the debt from Blythe Fashion. The case is ongoing. I cannot say at the moment how much debt has been collected. The loan file is at the head office.”

Kabir Hossain, former supervisor of Blythe Fashion said, “The establishment is currently closed. Three security guards look after the factory. The owners are out of the country.”

He also claimed that, there was never an LC of such a huge amount of money in the name of Blythe Fashion. Social Islami Bank gave loan for the purchase of land. This debt is not related to LC. If Bangladesh Bank receives such information, SIBL and Bangladesh Bank will understand it.”

When asked about the case of such loan fraud by opening fake LC, economist Dr. Ahsan H Mansoor said, “If the matter is true, then Bangladesh Bank should investigate this matter at a rapid pace. Millions of people are depositors of these banks. If the loan frauds continue to happen one after the other, there will be a major collapse in the banking sector. Bangladesh Bank has to take effective action against loan fraud to prevent the disaster of the bank.”

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