From 2001 to 2006: Hawa Bhaban syndicate forced banks to give loans for embezzling thousands of crores of money

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Published on November 1, 2022
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During the BNP-Jamaat regime, the Hawa Bhaban office of Tarique Rahman misappropriated bank money in name of taking loans in a very well-planned way. Approximately Tk 400 crore were embezzled from the Ramna and Narayanganj branches of Sonali Bank as loans. Thousands of crores of money were stolen from the bank using the names of various companies. These included Woodland of the then-PM Khaleda Zia’s brother Iskandar Mirza, Fair Trade of Tarique Rahman's close aide Jasim Uddin, Mask Associate of Hawa Bhaban’s man Akram Hossain, and International Rahman Trading of Zia family, among others.

The daily Samakal published the news on August 1, 2007. Coming to power, the caretaker government started a crackdown against corruption in the bank sector. Instead of back-to-back LC, the banks said to have sanctioned loans to those businessmen who were enlisted by Banani's Hawa Bhaban. Neither were rules and regulations followed for these loans, nor did the influential people, close to the high command of the BNP government, repay the loans. On their behalf, Bakir Hossain, the CBA leader of the bank, used to put pressure on the bankers.

The caretaker government formed an inquiry committee to find irregularities in the loan transactions of thousands of money in the banking sector. Then Bangladesh Bank and Sonali Bank's investigation revealed these sensational facts. Officers were forced to write off these loans on the verbal instructions of the branch manager. As a result, many officials faced legal steps due to authorizing those papers.