There is a saying that a gem knows a gem. It means that a dishonest person can recognize a dishonest person on sight. Friendship is also easily formed between them. The last example of this adage was seen in Mohammad Ali Haider Ratan’s bank loan case.
609 crore rupees loaned in the name of this ratan paper institution, five banks did not get back. Even in such a situation, AB Bank wants to give loan to this defaulter. The private bank tried hard to make Ratan the beneficiary of the Tk 350 crore loan. Which went up to the high court.
There is no opportunity to give new loans to defaulters. Therefore, AB Bank approved a loan of Tk 350 crore in the name of brand share trading of Ratan’s organized paper company. The managing director of the bank played an important role in providing loan to the company on Ratan paper. When the incident was revealed, the question arose ‘Ratane Ratan Chinle how?’
However, they were caught in the eyes of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), a financial intelligence department. The steps of this financial intelligence agency have blocked the process of 350 crore rupees loan waiver in the name of organized institutions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce has decided to buy sugar from Ratan’s Kaguje company, Brand Share Trading. The Ministry of Commerce proposed to buy 12 thousand 500 tons of sugar through direct purchase method from brand share trading in the meeting of the cabinet committee on government procurement held last Wednesday.
The proposal was approved in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal. 131 crore 25 lakhs will be spent from the state treasury to buy this sugar. The price of sugar per kg will be Rs. 105.
Investigation showed that Ratan’s name was not in the ownership of the Kaguje company named Brand Share. 90% ownership of that company was shown to a person named Mohammad Ataur Rahman. The Financial Intelligence Unit confirmed that he was a student by analyzing the identity card information. And 10 percent ownership was shown by an official of Brand Win Group of Companies owned by Ratan. In the name of Mamun Rashid.
BFIU has sought an explanation from the AB Bank Board of Directors regarding the approval of loans in the name of Kaguje institutions. A letter has also been sent to the Anti-Corruption Commission. When the matter came to light, the High Court ordered an investigation into the allegation of fraud in the loan approval of Tk 350 crore last Wednesday. The Anti-Corruption Commission, CID and BFIU have been asked to report in detail within the next three months.
Those concerned say that, like PK Halder, the money launderer of the financial sector, he has started a mission to get crores of rupees from Ratan Bank by opening a reputable company. PK Halder also looted thousands of crores in the same way.
According to BFIU’s letter, Brand Share Trading Limited registered as a company with the Directorate of Joint Venture Companies and Firms (RJSC) on June 9, 2022. After that, the company also took trade license from Dhaka South City Corporation on September 4 last year.
Three months after this, the company opened a current account at AB Bank’s Gulshan branch by depositing Tk 10,000 on November 7 last year. On January 10 this year, the company applied to AB Bank for a loan of Tk 350 crore. Although the application was approved, the company was unable to withdraw the money from the bank as BFIU found irregularities.
According to BFIU’s letter sources, on January 10, AB Bank’s Gulshan branch received a loan application for Brandshare Trading. In the application, the owner of the company was shown as Mohammad Ataur Rahman and Md. To Mamun Rashid. But its address has been given to Ratan-owned Infratech Construction, whose office is at Midas Center in Dhanmondi.
And the e-mail and website used in the application pad are also owned by another company called Brandwin. On the day of the application for quick discount in the name of this company, three officials including the Gulshan branch manager of AB Bank visited the Dhanmondi office and home address of the customer and gave an inspection report.
The report also said that brand new registered companies were made to appear as big companies with fake inspection reports. The next day the loan proposal is sent from the branch to the risk management committee of the head office. A month after the application, it was approved by the efforts of the managing director in the 755th board meeting of the bank on February 9.
Again, although the loan was approved in the name of brand share trading, the bank violated all banking norms and issued a guarantee of Tk 16 crore 13 lakh in favor of Infratech.
Sources say Ratan-owned Infratech Construction and Brandwin Group of Companies have loans of Rs 609 crore in 5 banks, most of which are now in default. This loan is taken against various government orders. Although the work was completed, National, UCB, SIBL, Janata and BASIC Banks have not received the loan amount. As a result, these loans have now become defaulted. Apart from this, the question has now been raised in the banks whether they have received the work order or not. It is known that BFIU first wrote a letter to the managing director of AB Bank on March 20 regarding the approval of loans in the name of benami companies. Besides, it is asked to stop the loan waiver till further instructions. Later, on April 25, another letter was given to the MD to present the matter in the board of directors’ meeting, to inform the board’s observation, opinion and what action has been taken in this regard. However, the managing director did not respond to the letter.
Infratech Construction Company’s land phone spoke to Ali Haider Ratan to find out about this. He told Dhaka Times, “I do not own the company in whose name the loan of 350 crore taka is approved.” However, he admitted that the owners of that company are his relatives. He refused to say anything more.
Related sources say that no bank can give new loans to defaulters. That is why AB Bank tried to give a loan of Tk 350 crore to Ali Hyder Ratan in the name of that paper institution in a different strategy. And the MD of the bank is also involved in such fraud-manipulation. On behalf of AB Bank, Head of Brand Tanya Sattar told Dhaka Times that they have been informed by taking appropriate measures in view of BFIU’s letter. AB Bank voluntarily suspended all transactions of the said non-funded credit facility. No amount of loan facility has been disbursed or disbursed so far by way of debenture or guarantee.’
(Dhaka Times/26 May/RR/DM)