Premier Bank official accused of using client accounts for embezzlement

Nasir Uddin, a businessman who uses an account in Premier Bank’s Rokeya Sarani branch in Dhaka’s Shewrapara for regular transactions, sought a loan from another bank to buy a flat.

Liton Haider Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 1 Nov 2020, 05:03 AM
Updated : 1 Nov 2020, 05:03 AM

But the Bangladesh Bank denied him a no-objection certificate, saying that he already had an active loan of around Tk 25 million under the Premier Bank account.

“It was unimaginable!” he said, adding that he had already repaid all his debts.

After Nasir and around a dozen other clients complained to the Premier Bank authorities, the institution's internal auditors sought documents on clients’ fixed deposit receipts and double benefit accounts from senior executive and credit in-charge at the branch, Zulfiqar Ali, 40, during an audit on Oct 15. 

But Zulfiqar had disappeared with the papers and the auditors later discovered that around Tk 119 million worth of loans disbursed to different customer accounts was misappropriated. 

Kawsar Alam Majumder, a vice president and head of human resource at the bank’s headquarters, filed a case against Zulfiqar and former branch manager Ferdous Alam, 59, over the embezzlement. 

“We are trying to arrest them. The whole picture of the fraud will be clear if we can catch Zulfiqar,” said Arif Uddin, a sub-inspector at Kafrul Police Station who is investigating the case.   

The case is set to be transferred to the Detective Branch of police. Touhidul Islam, an additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s DB, said they expect the case files from the police station in a day or two.

Shahriar Kabir, who is managing the bank branch now, said former manager Ferdous was among seven people withdrawn to the headquarters over the embezzlement.

Several other officials at the branch were involved in the scheme, according to the case dossier.     

“The investigation is underway. We will know clearly who was involved, how much money has been embezzled and who the victims were after completing the investigation,” Shahriar said.

Besides Nasir, the other victims of the fraudulent scheme are Abdus Salam, Monirul Islam, Abdul Kayum, Md Helal Uddin, Dulal Ahmed, Liton Ali, Mahmud Hasan Poltu, Sheikh Md Sohel, Aminul Islam and Md Enamul Haque.

One of them, Aminul, said he learnt that Tk 11.4 million was embezzled using his account.

“I know nothing of this. I don’t understand how this money was borrowed through my account. What will happen to me now? Can I get clear of this mess?”

Poltu, a small business owner, said he had borrowed Tk 1.5 million and still owed Tk 800,000 to the bank.

“The manager and Zulfiqar behaved badly with me at my home for that money. Now I’ve learnt that the actual amount of the loan was Tk 5.8 million!” he said.     

Poltu also said that the auditors found his signature was forged to embezzle the money.

Rakib Uddin, a relative of Zulfiqar, said the family was unaware of his whereabouts and cannot communicate with him.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher