Bribery alleged at public banks
Some politically appointed directors in state-owned banks in collusion with management officials demand bribes to clear outstanding commissions for loan recovery agents, leading banking expert Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled complained yesterday.
"I have information in this regard and those who have informed me do not lie," Khaled, chairman of Bangladesh Krishi Bank, said at a programme at the Jatiya Press Club.
Without mentioning any name, he said one of the directors of a state-owned bank demanded 30 percent commission from the due charge of a loan recovery agency to present the related papers at the board meeting and pass it.
"As the agency has not agreed to pay bribe, it is yet to get its due commission from the bank for recovery of the default loan," he added.
The former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) disclosed this at a discussion on “Success and failure in default loan recovery under private initiative,” organised by People's Development Services Corporation Ltd (PDSC), a default loan recovery agency.
PDSC Chairman MA Rahman alleged that state-owned Sonali Bank and Agrani Bank are yet to pay it Tk 2.30 crore in due commission as per contracts.
Khaled said private banks gladly pay the commissions to these agencies for helping them recover classified loans. But the state-owned banks show reluctance to pay the bills of loan recovery agencies.
Citing a default loan of Agrani Bank, he said, the bank provided the loan to a politically-influential person and could not recover it for 25 years.
Failing to collect the money, it later gave the job to recover the money to an agency.
After the recovery, the then managing director of the bank claimed all credit for the recovery and declined to pay the commission.
The agency, said Khaled, at one stage sought his help in obtaining the due commission. But the bank did not even entertain his request.
Some loan recovery agencies have already suspended activities, frustrated by non-payment and non-cooperation from the state-owned banks, he mentioned.
He suggested Bangladesh Bank try moral persuasion on banks for payment of the commission.
"State-owned banks had been steeped in corruption in the past. Even today, they are steeped in graft," said Khaled, citing that a deputy managing director of the Sonali Bank was involved in the loan scam related to Hall-Mark Group.
"We have also heard that some government-appointed directors are also involved in the scam," he noted.
Khaled urged the government not to appoint any MD, DMD and director on political consideration. Rather they should be picked by search committees.
Toufiq Ahmad Choudhury, director general of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management, and SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, also spoke.
News: The Daily Star/Bangladesh/09-Sep-12