Vol. 4 Num 75 Sun. August 10, 2003  
Front Page

Forged notes find hands as banks lack money testers

Banks still lack the necessary equipment to detect fake notes even as reports of widespread circulation of counterfeit currencies continue to pour in from all over the country.

As a result, big transactions have become a risky business for banks with high quality printing and imitation of security features making it very hard for cashiers to detect the counterfeits.

Except for a handful, almost none of the 3,482 branches of four nationalised commercial banks (NCBs) and 1,308 branches of five specialised banks have any fake note detectors while a selection of the 1412 branches of 30 private commercial banks (PCBs) are using such equipment.

On the other hand, almost all of the 31 branches of 10 foreign commercial banks (FCBs) have detectors to identify counterfeits.

High-tech money testers costing around Tk 2 lakh apiece are available in the market but smaller and less sophisticated units are also available for Tk 800 only, a central bank official said.

"But most banks do not have such machines although the central bank had instructed them to procure the equipment long time ago," Md Abdul Matin, general manager of the Bangladesh Bank, told The Daily Star yesterday.

The central bank has purchased portable fake money detectors and supplied them to its vault, currency checking points and balance collection booths.

Matin Uddin Ahmed, managing director of the Shahjalal Bank Limited, said use of money testers should be made mandatory for all banks to combat the threat from counterfeits that are flooding the money market.

He said all 10 branches of his bank use such machines and have identified several cases of forgery. "The fake notes thus detected were punched to prevent their further use," he added.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Bank has reportedly tightened its security measures after a bundle of 100 forged notes of Tk 500 denomination was discovered from its own vault on Wednesday.

Guards of the vault have been transferred and officials and employees were frisked, sources said.

A shopkeeper checks a Tk 500 note against the light as a precaution against fake notes circulating around the country. Photo: Anisur Rahman