Bangladesh Bank has decided to strip the remittance award it gave to loan defaulter and fugitive businessman Shahjahan Bablu. The central bank has written to Janata Bank to take back the crest, certificate and commemorative note from him immediately.
Bangladesh Bank took the decision on Wednesday, said central bank spokesperson Md Anwarul Islam.
The process was initiated after a report titled 'Fugitive receives remittance award from Bangladesh Bank' was published in The Business Standard on October 8.
Shahjahan Bablu has been flagged as a loan defaulter of Bangladesh Commerce Bank since April this year. However, Bangladesh Commerce Bank had not submitted this information to the Credit Information Bureau of the central bank. It updated Bangladesh Bank only after the list of remittance award recipients was finalised.
The central bank will seek an explanation from Bangladesh Commerce Bank over the issue.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank is presently investigating a money laundering case against Shahjahan Bablu. The Criminal Investigation Department of police and the Anti-Corruption Commission are also looking into the matter.
There is a lot of speculation on why such a controversial businessman was selected for the award.
Shahjahan Bablu is the chairman and managing director of the Cumilla-based SB Group. He allegedly embezzled Tk 400 crore from various banks and companies.
BFIU found that Bablu had exported terra cotta tiles at an inflated price. Because of this Tk 200crore of payment was withheld by the foreign bank.
Despite knowing that part of the payment had been withheld by the foreign bank, Bangladesh Commerce Bank bought the bill for Tk190 crore.
Bablu has also received other awards by showing false documents. He even received the National Fisheries Award 2014 from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He also managed to get several facilities after showing a photo of himself receiving the award from the premier.
He also received the International Bishuddhananda Peace Gold Medal in social work from Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, the speaker of the parliament.
Numerous allegations have also been made against Bablu as a businessman. He allegedly misappropriated part of the Equity and Entrepreneurship Fund of the central bank.
During the remittance award ceremony, he was introduced as having made the remittance through Janata Bank. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal gave the award to Bablu's representative.