Jamuna Group has not decided yet on investing in controversial e-commerce platform Evaly.
"We signed a memorandum of understanding with Evaly earlier. We still have some times in hand to decide on the deal. Our audit and accounts departments are looking into Evaly's financial statements and other related documents. We will issue an official statement on the matter after completing the audit," Monika Nazneen Islam, group director of Jamuna Group, told The Business Standard on Thursday night.
Monika Islam also informed that they are also planning to launch own e-commerce platform.
Earlier, on 28 July, Jamuna Group Director Dr Mohammed Alamgir Alam told The Business Standard that the conglomerate had decided to continue doing business with Evaly, without going into too much details after Evaly managing director Mohammad Rassel claimed Jamuna will invest in the controversial ecommerce platform.
In a Facebook post then, Evaly Managing Director Mohammad Rassel announced that Jamuna Group is going to invest Tk1,000 crore in the e-commerce platform, which is under investigation over alleged embezzlement of Tk338 crore it took in advance from customers and owes to merchants.
Meanwhile on Thursday (26 August), in a reply to a commerce ministry show-cause notice Mohammad Rassel said that Evaly owes around Tk311 crore to more than 2 lakh customers.
Rassel said the amount piled up in customer claims until 15 July.
Evaly got the money in advance payments by luring people with heavy discounts on products on its site and promising delivery in 7-45 days. Buyers, however, are yet to receive the items they ordered.
And the refund cheques given to customers have bounced because of an insufficient fund in Evaly's bank account.
According to a probe report submitted by the Bangladesh Bank in June, Evaly's burden of payment to customers amounted to Tk214 crore while the e-commerce platform itself has disclosed its burden to be Tk97 crore more than that.
As of 15 July, the total liabilities of the e-commerce platform, including advance payments taken from customers, debts to suppliers and other business debts, amounted to Tk543 crore. There is an additional debt of Tk1 crore for shareholder equity, says a statement submitted to the commerce ministry on Wednesday.
In the notice, the commerce ministry stated that as of 14 March this year, Evaly owes customers Tk213.98 crore and merchants Tk189.85 crore, against which it has shown asset value of Tk91.69 crore and current working capital of Tk65.17 crore.
These amounts were published in a Bangladesh Bank investigation report filed on 16 June after receiving various complaints about the e-commerce platform.
Following a report published on 22 June by The Business Standard based on the central bank's report on Evaly, a number of banks, including Dhaka Bank, Bank Asia and Brac Bank, suspended the use of their debit, credit and prepaid cards for online transactions with 10 e-commerce companies.
Besides, bKash also suspended its payment services with 10 online merchants, including Evaly, citing protection of customers' interest as a cause.
Besides, a Dhaka court imposed a travel ban on Rassel, the managing director of Evaly, and his wife Shamima Nasrin, also the chairman of the company, from travelling abroad amid an ongoing probe into charges of embezzlement against the e-commerce company.