State banks asked to tighten security
BFID yesterday asked Sonali Bank CEO Pradip Kumar Dutta to immediately suspend the Adamdighi branch manager, deputy general manager and general manager controller
The government has directed all state-owned banks to reinforce their security systems, especially at their vaults by building them with concrete and steel and setting up electronic alarm mechanism.
In the wake of the latest heist at a Sonali Bank branch in Bogra, it has also asked the bank’s authorities to take action against their high officials and the branch’s control officer after investigation.
In a letter to Sonali Bank CEO Pradip Kumar Dutta, the Bank and Financial Institutions Division (BFID) yesterday asked him to immediately suspend the Adamdighi branch manager, deputy general manager and general manager controller.
Signed by BFID’s Deputy Secretary M Rajnul Huda, the letter said primary investigation had revealed that the high officials of the branch had lack of awareness and were irresponsible.
The letter also said security should be increased at all branches of Sonali Bank across the country during weekends and general holidays.
Robbers looted Tk32 lakh from the Adamdighi upazila branch of the bank in the district by digging a tunnel to the bank’s vault room on Saturday.
The BFID yesterday asked the board of directors of Sonali Bank to form teams to review the security at all the branches of the bank.
It asked the Adamdighi branch authority to lodge a general diary (GD) with the local police against the owners of the building housing the branch, and shops and business establishments around it.
The directives to Sonali Bank and other state-owned banks were to prevent recurrence of such heists, Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday told reporters after a meeting of the purchase committee at the Secretariat.
He said the internal accounting, auditing and security of the banks had now become stronger following the Hall-Mark scam and the robbery at the Kishoreganj Sonali Bank branch, but incidents of digging tunnel for bank heist would not stop soon.
He said officers and other staff members of the state-owned banks would not change overnight – it would take 10-15 years even after increasing their salaries, he said.
The finance minister said the government had already increased their salaries by 65% and the next pay scale might have another 62% raise.
Following investigation into the robbery of Tk16.9 crore from Sonali Bank’s Kishoreganj branch in a similar manner, the BFID suggested 10 security measures for the six state-owned banks – Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali, BASIC Bank and Bangladesh Development Bank Limited.
The directives included setting up of closed circuit cameras in vault rooms, having vault room on the first floor of the branches, and getting the vault rooms of all ventilations.
The BFID also directed Sonali Bank to move its chest branches to their own houses or land and arranging security as per the Bangladesh Bank’s directives.
It directed transfer of a Sonali Bank branch in Chandpur to a separate building immediately as there was a hotel on the ground floor of the building.