As mobile banking services, especially bikash, cheap cash have started gaining popularity in our country and the way this sub-service of the bank has surpassed the main banking service, its risk level has also reached its peak. And it has been said several times to bring this service sector under strict control, warning about the dangers of mobile banking. There has been a detailed discussion on how this is possible. But Bangladesh Bank or concerned authorities do not seem to have given any importance to the matter.
Now the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) of the police has come to know that there is a terrible money laundering incident using the country’s mobile banking services. The CID also got hold of a lot of evidence and initially arrested 16 people involved. According to information provided by CID, all those arrested are associated with a popular mobile banking service in the country. The CID also mentioned that in the past one year, this syndicate has smuggled about 75 thousand crore rupees or 7.8 billion US dollars abroad using the country’s mobile banking services, i.e. not allowing it to be brought into the country. An absolutely amazing event. What a terrible loss the country has had to face because such a huge amount of foreign currency did not come to the country in the country’s dollar crisis, one can imagine!
Today, if mobile banking was under strict control like the mainstream banking sector of the country and if they had ensured proper compliance while providing their mobile banking services, then such a huge amount of money could not be laundered and kept abroad for smuggling dollars without bringing them into the country. And this amount of money used to come into the country legally and the country’s foreign exchange reserves never fell below 45 billion dollars. Not only that, it may be difficult to imagine the actual level of illegal dollar laundering using mobile banking services. Because CID has arrested only 16 people. But they have specific information that the number of such agents will be more than five thousand who are involved in illegal dollar smuggling or hundi using mobile banking services.
Even trying to understand how this huge amount of hundi or money laundering happened by misusing the country’s mobile banking services, I was not very successful. Because the press did not get detailed information like that. Local print and electronic media published reports based on the little information that the CID disclosed. As a result, there is not much opportunity to know the details of the incident. It is only mentioned that three groups are involved in this financial irregularity and all of them are associated with one of the mobile banking service provider companies. very normal Such hundi or international money laundering is not possible without the direct cooperation of the persons engaged in mobile banking service providers. Such persons are divided into different groups and the number of groups may be much more than three. Only a few of this group have been caught.
There are two direct parties involved in this kind of hundi or international money laundering phenomenon, one party sending money from abroad and the other party laundering money from the country abroad. And this second party i.e. those who illegally laundered money abroad using this mobile banking service, it will be possible to know the real facts only if they can be identified. We firmly believe that even though CID keeps many details of the incident under wraps for the sake of investigation, they will be able to quickly identify the money launderers within the country and bring them under the law.
Needless to say, there is no reason to think that CID or any other agency arresting and punishing a few such persons involved in money laundering will stop or reduce such crimes in the country. Such incidents will continue to increase in the coming days as financial transactions have been made easy and seamless in the name of mobile banking services. One can open a mobile banking company account from any remote area of the country and transact thousands of rupees a day just by using national identity card.
Such unregulated financial transactions are hard to imagine in the developed world, even in many developing countries. But in our country, this system is being neglected. And whatever is cheap and unregulated is the most popular. And all incidents happen through cheap popular systems. To stop Hundi or money laundering in the country, this cheap and easy mobile banking service should be strictly controlled first. If this mobile banking service, which is rapidly advancing in the country, is not properly controlled, then there will be no surprise in the near future, in addition to incidents like hundi, money laundering and money laundering abroad, there will be many more terrible financial frauds or transaction scams.
As technology is advancing and people are becoming dependent on technology very easily, online banking is the need of the age. But the banking sector of our country has not been able to advance and popularize their real online banking services. Today, if banks could provide their customers with a limited range of transactions using mobile apps, then people would be able to do mobile banking transactions very easily from their bank accounts. As a result, there was no need to accept mobile banking services provided by third parties like Bikash or Naqd. And customers can feel safe if they transact through the bank, the chances of incidents like hundi, money laundering or money laundering abroad are very less.
Despite much discussion and criticism, banks are still the most trusted institution for people’s financial transactions. Because the bank is the only institution, which does business only within the strict control of the central bank. Not only that, they also have to comply with many domestic and international laws and regulations. However, it is unfortunate that despite the national slogan of Digital Bangladesh, the banking sector of our country has not been able to advance their real online banking facilities. And that’s why mobile banking service provider companies have occupied this space very easily. Not only that, the way these mobile banking companies have made themselves popular, making people’s financial transactions easier and even playing a role in settling business transactions in the country, it is difficult and not right to imagine shutting down these service providers. . Even bringing these companies under strict control or surveillance would be difficult. However, since these companies are involved in providing financial services, they have to be brought under direct control and there is no alternative.
First thing to make sure is that customers must have some bank account linked with their mobile banking account for direct money transfer or transaction. Transactions such as payment of purchase price of goods or services or payment of bills can be completed only with mobile banking account without bank account; But under no circumstances can transactions like direct money transfers be made. Basically there can be two types of accounts for availing mobile banking services. As such there will be no bank account obligation. These customers are only able to perform a limited range of services, especially transactions such as buying goods or paying bills.
There will be another type of account, those who have an account in any bank of the country and that account must be linked with mobile banking service or company account. Such customers can only make transactions like direct money transfer. Note that linking a bank account does not mean full access to that mobile banking. If a customer wants to take, then he can take it in a limited amount. However, linking this bank account means that whenever a customer wants to make a money transfer transaction, the system will automatically verify the valid bank account. Some more such regulatory measures must be adopted in the case of mobile banking service providers. Otherwise, incidents like hundi or money laundering, especially the incidents of money laundering abroad by misusing mobile banking services, will not decrease, on the contrary, they will continue to increase gradually.
Author: Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and Banker, Toronto, Canada