Uncertainty has gripped the central bank probe into the bribery scandal of its officials centring a series of money laundering scams in non-bank financial institutions, as the investigation committee failed to submit a report within the three-month deadline that ended on 15 May.
A five-member fact-finding committee of the Bangladesh Bank is investigating the scams, allegedly involving its former deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury and current Executive Director Shah Alam.
However, officials of the central bank said the investigation report would be submitted shortly.
Chowdhury and Alam are accused of assisting fugitive Prashanta Kumar (PK) Haldar in misappropriating and laundering around Tk5,500 crore from at least five financial institutions in the country, including People's Leasing and International Leasing.
PK Halder's associate and former managing director of International Leasing, Rashedul Huq, in his deposition given in court, said the inspection team of the central bank suppressed the information of laundering this money in exchange for large sums of bribes.
He alleged that Chowdhury and Alam, who were in charge of private-sector financial institutions, assisted in these irregularities in return for financial benefits along with a few more central bank officials.
Later, on 15 February, the Bangladesh Bank formed a fact-finding committee headed by Deputy Governor AKM Sajedur Rahman Khan.
The committee was supposed to submit a report within three months on the investigation to the central bank governor, with recommendations on how to prevent these kinds of irregularities and money laundering that have left many financial institutions devastated.
Asked about the delay in submitting the report, central bank spokesperson and executive director Sirajul Islam told The Business Standard that the investigation of the inquiry committee has been hampered due to the ongoing lockdown.
However, the investigation will be completed shortly and a report will be submitted, he said.
Meanwhile, another official of the central bank said according to a High Court order, the irregularities of People's Leasing and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company (BIFC) also needs to be investigated.
No specific deadline has been set by the court for the investigation of these institutions, he said, adding that the court order mentions a "convenient deadline".
There are currently 35 financial institutions in the country. At least 10 of them are in grave conditions. Among these International Leasing, People's Leasing, FAS Finance and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company Ltd (BIFC) were victims of PK Haldar's scam.