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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Saturday, November 17, 2012
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Hall-Mark Loan Scam

Ex-directors of Sonali also guilty

Just past board of the bank approved Tk 65cr loan

The immediate past board of directors of Sonali Bank approved a Tk 65.41 crore project loan for controversial Hall-Mark Group, which shows that the board was responsible, at least partly, for the Hall-Mark loan scam.

Of the amount, Tk 57 crore has already been disbursed, according to Sonali Bank.

The board approved the loan in April last year when Hall-Mark's liabilities to the state-owned bank was around Tk 500 crore, show documents.

“Had the board played its due role, the scam could have been detected much earlier,” Awami League lawmaker Tajul Islam, head of a parliamentary committee probing the Hall-Mark loan scam, told The Daily Star on Thursday.

He said the bulk of the Tk 2,686 crore Hall-Mark loan was disbursed in three months till April this year.

The lawmaker said the board had the scope for discussing these issues in detail in its monthly meeting, but it didn't.

“The board did not hide the issue from us… Tk 65 crore is very insignificant considering the size of the total amount of the loan,” said Tajul.

A Bangladesh Bank report revealed the scam in May, and said Hall-Mark along with five other companies took away Tk 3,547 crore from Sonali Bank's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch between 2010 and this year with forged documents.

A Sonali Bank audit also found proof of fund embezzlement and blamed the bank's officials for the scam. Sonali Bank suspended its 31officials and made two deputy managing directors officers on special duty.

The board directors, who were appointed under political consideration, have been denying their involvement in the scam since it came to light. Rather, the board put the blame on the bank's management saying officials did not inform it about the Hall-Mark loans.

But Sonali Bank documents show that the board at its meeting on April 20 last year approved Tk 65.41 crore loan to Hall-Mark Spinning Mills.

The board gave the approval under some conditions that include raising Hall-Mark Spinning Mill's paid-up capital to Tk 5 crore from Tk 50 lakh and conducting a credit rating within six months of the approval.

“There was no controversy about Hall-Mark when we approved the loan. We gave conditional approval for the loan,” Quashem Humayun, a former director of Sonali Bank, told The Daily Star.

He said it was the management's duty to see whether Hall-Mark fulfilled the conditions or not.

“The board was not there to look after the bank's everyday work.”

He said the loan proposal of Hall-Mark Spinning Mills was assessed by the bank's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch, a deputy general manager, a general manager, managing director and the bank's credit committee before the board gave its final consent.

Requesting anonymity, a senior Sonali Bank official said the management provided the board with Hall-Mark's credit report at the end of last year.

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The important issue is will Mr. Tajul Islam go beyond his rhetoric and discoveries and proceed to prosecute the real culprits including the Board Members. If not, this reduces to nothing but propaganda blitz of Awami League.

: Dr. Ahsan Habib

It is impossible that the board of directors were not involved considering the enormity of the loan. There was & is always a limit that the management is entitled to sanction.The question is how far up in the totem pole does the involment go.After he made the irresponsible remark about the amount,he is very tellingly quiet.He is now burying his head like an ostritch dreaming it will all go away.

: niloufar sarker


  • Mohammad Nurul Hoque(Alam),Malaysia
    Saturday, November 17, 2012 08:34 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    What about money? When will be the government rescue the money? We do not need only news like this but also the money.

  • hasan mamun
    Saturday, November 17, 2012 02:34 PM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    The government should bring all the culprits under exemplary punishment. Nobody should be spared.

  • n.d.saha
    Saturday, November 17, 2012 02:34 PM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    This is a lame excuse of the board that they approved conditional loan and ensuring fulfilment of the conditions is not their duty. According to the set principle the first agenda of any board meeting is to review the progress and implementation of the decisions given in the previous meeting. How come ensuring the decisions of the board does not fall within the purview of the board?

  • Sixth Sense
    Saturday, November 17, 2012 12:30 PM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Tajul Islam has rightly said that 'had the board played its due role, the scam could have been detected earlier'. But did his committee try to ascertain why the board did not or could not play its role? Was their any lack of vital information in the memo submitted by the management of the bank for consideration of the board? Taka 65 crore may be insignificant to some but to the depositors but the amount is very large. Every thing will come out in open when time would present itself.





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