Nine customers of Alesha Mart have received refunds of Tk28.36 lakh today that remained stuck on payment gateway SSLCommerz.
A total of 485 customers will get Tk10.61 crore refunds in phases, according to the commerce ministry.
"At one point, we were afraid we might not able to refund money to the customers. But we kept on trying. Initially we started refunding the customers of Qcoom. So far, Tk23 crore has been refunded to Qcoom customers. The process will continue until the debt is over," Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said at the refund ceremony on Thrusday.
He went on to say, "We have started the refund process of Alesha Mart customers today. We are trying to look further into other operators and find ways to complete all refunds."
AHM Safiquzzaman, head of the e-commerce cell at the Ministry of Commerce, said Alesha Mart customers will get Tk42 crore in refunds, which was stuck in the payment gateway.
He informed that the money got stuck on two segments – Tk31 crore in the first and Tk10 crore in the other.
"We started refunding Tk10 crore in the first phase," he added.
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.