The authorities, in compliance with a court order, have frozen 933 bank accounts linked to SM Amjad Hossain, a former chairman of South Bangla Agriculture and Commerce (SBAC) Bank, on charges of misappropriation of funds.
According to the order issued in October 2021, money can be deposited into these accounts at 24 different banks, but no withdrawals are permitted under any circumstances.
The judge's court in Dhaka ordered freezing the accounts in cases filed against SM Amjad Hossain, his wife Begum Sufia Amjad, and their daughter Tajori Hossain.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) published details of the accounts in newspapers on Sunday.
According to the sources, the ACC probed and found that Amjad embezzled Tk70-80 crore by himself, and by using accounts in the names of various companies. So three cases were filed against Amjad, his wife, and their daughter. The charge sheets for these cases have been finalised and are awaiting approval by the commission.
Despite having a travel ban, Amjad managed to flee to the US in November 2021.
The High Court, meanwhile, criticised the ACC, the police, the immigration police authorities, and the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, questioning how the former SBAC Bank chairman was able to flee the country.
In the ACC investigation, a total of 935 bank accounts belonging to Amjad, his wife, his daughter, and his various companies were discovered. Out of these, 933 accounts have been frozen. However, the court has unfrozen an account in Eastern Bank under Amjad's name and an account in Islami Bank under Southeast Union Ceramic Industries' name.
Amjad's bank account has Tk4.5 lakh. And Tk360 crore was deposited in Southeast Union's account, which was withdrawn later.
Out of these 933 bank accounts, 740 have been opened at SBAC Bank, according to sources.
According to ACC officials, the bank accounts of Khulna Builders, Khulna Printing, Moon Star Fish, Southeast Union Ceramic, Moonstar Polymer Export, Ocean Trade International, Eastern Polymer, Shampa Ice and Cold Storage, and Southern Foods Limited have transactions worth around Tk6,000 crore.
And these huge transactions have been done using accounts with Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Islami Bank, SBAC Bank, Premier Bank, United Commercial Bank, and Dutch Bangla Bank.
An ACC official said Amjad did not embezzle money using all 933 bank accounts. Several of these accounts were used to embezzle money. So all accounts will remain frozen until the cases are disposed of.
In 2013, SBAC was approved as a fourth-generation bank. Some businessmen hold positions on its board of directors, but Amjad Hossain has most of the ownership.
He is the leader of the Khulna-based Lockpur Group, which is mainly involved in the export of frozen shrimp and fish.
Amjad resigned from the post of chairman of SBAC Bank in September 2021, citing physical illness.
In his resignation letter, Amjad wrote, "During the last couple of months, I have been suffering from various ailments and had to be hospitalised for treatment."
Amjad's two firms – SBAC Bank and Khulna Printing and Packaging Limited – listed on the stock market in 2021 and 2014, respectively.
At present, Thermax Group's Chairman Abdul Kadir Molla leads the bank as chairman. Its shares were traded at Tk10.50 on Sunday at the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
It had paid only a 3.50% cash dividend to its shareholders for 2022.
In October 2021, Khulna Printing decided to shut down its factory, following the freezing of the bank accounts of its chairman Amjad.
Against such a backdrop, the listed company will not run its business for an uncertain period. Its shares closed at Tk14 each on Sunday at the DSE.