Friday, March 22, 2019

Muhith under fire over loan scandals in banking sector

  • Parliament Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-06-10 17:38:04 BdST

The budget for the 2018-19 fiscal is presented in parliament on Thursday. Photo: PID

Opposition leaders and some lawmakers from the ruling party have come down hard on Finance Minister ABA Muhith over the loan scandals and mismanagement that plagued the banking sector amid discussions on budget in parliament.

Most of the lawmakers criticised the finance minister in parliament on Sunday during a discussion session on the supplementary budget.

Prof Ali Ashraf, a lawmaker of the ruling Awami League, said the banking sector may collapse if they are not brought under a proper system of rules

He urged Muhith to take necessary action against loan scams and money laundering.

“The investors would not be attracted to the bank if you cannot prevent them from looting by restoring discipline.”  

He said the people could regain their confidence if the finance minister would be able to nab the loan defaulters.

Independent MP Rustam Ali Farazi remarked that the people are afraid to deposit money in banks.

Even though people come to banks for security, they now have to take risks when banks launder money.

“They are laundering money in the name of giving loans. Millions and billions of money are being sent abroad. But many of us know who the defaulters are.”

Criticising the reduction of corporate tax rates of banks, insurance and other financial institutions, Farazi said the parliament had given Muhith another chance but he spoilt it.

“What could be done to recover the defaulted money? There is no need to leave it to a future government, you can form a commission,” he said referring to the finance minister. 

“In India, state-owned banks provide money to the government. But in our country we are providing capital to them. I do not know how they can make this possible, but it cannot do.”

Jatiya Party leader Kazi Firoz Rashid said: “Power never lasts forever. May Allah judge all of you.”

He said such looting had never occurred in Bangladesh.

He asked Muhith to answer for why he permitted ‘the robbers’ to take control and gave them the protection to rob the money.

“Bank owners never cast votes for you, but you never think about people,” he said.

“Sonali and Rupali Bank were robbed, but the people did not get any justice,” he added.

Firoz called for answers for the looting of Tk 980 billion from the banking sector. He also asked why Muhith would not like to take Farmers Bank to auction and why he nabbed a farmer for only Tk 24,000 in spite of it.

Jatiya Party MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said they are continuously bearing the burden for bank mismanagement but did not get any effective results. He said the finance minister is using people’s money to provide the banks with capital.

“The finance minister pledged to restore a commission to reform the banks. But in the next press conference after the budget he said, it was not restored. If the commission was formed, all of those who had looted the money would be found out. But the finance minister never wants to disclose this.”