The customers who made their payments in advance against ordered products on the much-talked-about e-commerce site Alesha Mart after 30 June last year are set to get refunds within a week, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
To make this happen, the ministry has already taken the necessary steps.
"We have found some transactions of Alesha Mart clients on payment gateways. The money remained pending on the gateways. We took initiatives to return the money to the customers directly with a programme at the end of this week or the beginning of the next week," said Additional Commerce Secretary AHM Safiquzzaman, also the head of the e-commerce cell at the ministry.
The ministry found Tk42 crore pending on the gateways, which hundreds of customers deposited as advance payments to Alesha Mart after 30 June 2021.
Meanwhile, the e-commerce firm last week requested the ministry to allow it to transfer the amount to its bank account. However, the ministry refused the proposal. Instead, it initiated the return of money directly to customers' accounts.
The e-commerce firm owes customers TK300 crore, while it could so far refund only Tk12 crore on its own. However, the beleaguered company has no more money in its hands to refund others.
To resolve the crisis, Alesha Chairman Manjurul Alam Sikder wanted several times to sell the company's shares. Besides, the company tried to avail bank loans but failed.
Meanwhile, Alesha Mart also requested the Financial Institution Division of the finance ministry and the Bangladesh Bank to arrange bank loans for it.
The central bank found at least 56 accounts of Alesha Mart with different banks, in which customers deposited TK2,001 crore. On the other hand, Alesha withdrew Tk1,999 crore from the accounts.
The Bangladesh Bank is investigating how the company spent that money.