Former finance secretary Fazle Kabir to head Bangladesh Bank, says Minister Muhith

The government is appointing former finance secretary Fazle Kabir as governor of the hacking scandal-hit Bangladesh Bank.

Published : 15 March 2016, 07:58 AM
Updated : 15 March 2016, 06:28 PM

Kabir will replace Atiur Rahman, who resigned Tuesday morning in the face intense pressure over the cyber heist to which the Bangladesh Bank has lost over $80 million.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters at his office that Kabir, who now chairs the board of another scam-tainted state-owned Sonali Bank, will be the new chief of the central bank.

The appointment comes within two hours of Atiur Rahman stepping down.

“There is a new governor. Former finance secretary Fazle Kabir has been made the governor,” Muhith said while responding to a query by reporters at his office. “It will be (formally) announced today.”

He said Kabir is out of the country now and is scheduled to return on Mar 18.

Asked whether an inquiry committee will be formed over the heist, he said, “An investigation has been already done.”

Replying to another query, the minister said,” Yes, yes, I have already said that...Dr Farashuddin...the committee (headed by him)...already I have announced. That will be there.”

Dr Mohammed Farashuddin himself once headed the central bank.

Asked how many members the probe body had, he said, “For now three. I am keeping provisions to give more.”

The electronic fraud causing Bangladesh Bank to lose millions of US dollars came to light almost after a month when it was reported by a newspaper in the Philippines.

The Philippine's Daily Inquirer ran a report on Feb 29 that the country was investigating a money laundering incident involving cross-border electronic fund transfer.

It said $81 million were wire-transferred on Feb 4 from the Bangladesh Bank’s US account to accounts in a local bank.

Muhith had lashed out at the central bank, vowing action for having ‘the audacity not to inform him about issue’.

Amid rumours about the action, the finance minister said on Monday he would spell it out in a statement the next day.

He had even called a media briefing on Tuesday, which was cancelled after Atiur tendered his resignation at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It (a statement) is not necessary, because that has been given from the Prime Minister’s Office,” Muhith said, after reporters inquired about his statement, and informed them of the decision to appoint Fazle Kabir.

An economics graduate from the Chittagong University, Kabir started his career in 1980 with Bangladesh Railway as an assistant traffic superintendent. Three years later, he joined the administration.

He was appointed finance secretary in 2012. He had also sat on the board of state-owned Janata Bank.

Kabir’s wife Mahmuda Sharmin Benu is an additional secretary to the ministry of public administration.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher