HC order on bank loan scams is welcome, but we need a permanent fix06 December 2022
Newspapers yesterday prominently published news of the High Court directing relevant authorities including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police and concerned banks to conduct probe into the scams of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd, Social Islami Bank Ltd and First Security Islami Bank and submit reports within four months. That the news is very important for the people of Bangladesh cannot be overestimated.
But we have reservations whether the HC order will bring some lasting and meaningful change to the seriously dented banking sector. The banks are now under political control. When the reports will be submitted by the different authorities as has been ordered by the HC, it will surely be found that the banks were helpless before political pressure from people in government and banks sanctioned money without even necessary documents or collateral. Some directors and high officials must also have taken advantage in this process of looting public money.
We are doubtful about the following three things that have to be ensured immediately to save public money and make banks trustworthy as financial institutions. The people have lost faith in banks.
Firstly, whether the stupendous sums lifted by the powerful business conglomerate S Alam Group who receives blessings of this government could be recovered at all?
Secondly, could the people responsible in Bangladesh Bank as well as officials of the relevant banks from where money was lifted be punished for the irregularities that took place under their watch?
Thirdly, whether the ubiquitous irregularities in banks in sanctioning loans can be stopped and people's trust on the banks restored?
On Sunday, the Bangladesh Bank has assured the depositors of Islami Bank that their deposited money in the bank is safe and they will get their money as and when they want to withdraw it. But the people are not convinced because under
this government there can be no assurance of anything, because it thrives on dishonesty and corruption.
After the two massive events of share market manipulation and successive scams of both public and private banks one after another for more than a decade, it is too late to make banks responsible. Money making politics has to change.