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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Monday, January 21, 2013
Business

Premier Bank sues nine officials for fund fraud

Allegations of confinement at bank's headquarters

Premier Bank yesterday filed a criminal case against nine of its officials for misappropriating nearly Tk 60 crore between 2011 and 2012.

The case was lodged with the Motijheel Police Station by a senior executive vice-president of the bank, the station's Officer-in-Charge Hayatuzzaman Mollah said.

Shahinur Rahman, the then Motijheel branch manager, sanctioned a loan of Tk 59.34 crore to Alppa Composite Towels Ltd, a concern of Bismillah Towels Group, by bypassing the standard procedure for loan approval, said Abu Hanif Khan, additional managing director of Premier Bank.

“Furthermore, he was negligent in recovery of the loan -- the payments became very

irregular.”

Rahman was handed over to the police yesterday for the charges, Khan said.

Prior to the arrest, Rahman had been posted to the bank's Mymensingh branch as its

manager.

The list of the accused includes one official from the bank's Mohammadpur branch, where the bank found a shortfall in cash.

The top officials of Alppa Composite, the borrowing company, were also among the accused.

It was alleged in some newspapers that the Premier Bank authorities confined some of the bank's officials at its headquarters in Banani on charges of fund misappropriation.

But the bank's additional MD denied the allegations, terming them to be “exaggerations”.

“They were simply called to the head office for interrogation,” said Khan, adding that the officials were given a month's time to recover the loan -- but they failed to.

But some officials of the bank's head office told The Daily Star otherwise: they said they heard about their colleagues' confinement.

Bhuiyan Mahbub Hasan, officer-in-charge of the Banani Police Station, told The Daily Star that no complaint was lodged about any confinement of bank officials.

“Higher-ups of the bank were quizzing those officials in the head office,” added Hasan.

HBM Iqbal, chairman of Premier Bank, did not respond to phone calls or text messages from The Daily Star.

Premier Bank, known as a third-generation private commercial bank, got the central bank licence in 1999, and has 64 branches across the country.

It was listed in 2007, with the bank's stock trading at Tk 15.80 on the Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday, down from the Tk 28.5 a share recorded in the March-April period of 2012.

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