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Thursday, December 09, 2021

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Cabinet Division seeks update on Union Bank probe

Mehedi Hasan
22 Oct 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 22 Oct 2021 11:17:18
Cabinet Division seeks update on Union Bank probe

The Cabinet Division has sought an update on investigation into the Union Bank’s Gulshan branch, launched in September after a central bank inspection team unearthed a mismatch

of Tk 19 crore between the cash in vault and the amount recorded by that branch.

It sent a letter to the Financial Institutions Division of the Finance Ministry on October 13 in this regard.

The Financial Institutions Division will ask the central bank to provide the latest update on this investigation, said a senior official of the ministry.

Bangladesh Bank Executive Director and spokesperson Md Serajul Islam however said the central bank is yet to receive any such letter from the Financial Institutions Division.

BB yet to take legal action

Though nearly a month has passed since the alleged irregularity came to light, the central bank is yet to take any legal action against the Union Bank, and is yet to collect the CCTV footage from the bank’s branch, sources told The Business Post.

Instead, the regulator asked the bank to investigate this matter themselves, they added. This incident received widespread attention from both the media and the people.

Commenting on the issue, Serajul Islam said, “We had sought explanation from the bank after unearthing this irregularity, and also issued a warning against the institution.

“The bank has replied to our query, saying that the shortfall in their vault has already been adjusted, and action has been taken against those involved in the irregularity.”

While asking what legal action has been taken against the Union Bank, the central bank spokesperson said the regulator is yet to take any legal action over the incident, but the process is underway.

Industry insiders said when such a serious irregularly is revealed, officials responsible for the vault are usually handed over to the police. However, in the Union Bank’s incident, the central took no legal action so far, and did not even file a general diary (GD).

Tk 19 crore vanishes from vault

On September 22, a Bangladesh Bank team found a mismatch of Tk 19 crore in Union Bank’s Gulshan Branch – a Shariah-based new generation bank.

At that time, a central bank official said there was a deposit of Tk 31 crore in the bank’s Gulshan Branch vault as per the vault document, but the BB inspection team found only Tk12 crore in the vault.

The branch vault showed a deficit of Tk 19 crore and branch officials could not provide any clear answer to the probe team, an investigating official had told The Business Post seeking anonymity.

When the irregularity came to light after widespread media coverage, the Union Bank explained that its authorities have formed a 5-member committee to investigate the incident, and three of its officials responsible for maintaining the vault-account have been withdrawn.

The bank’s Deputy Managing Director Hasan Iqbal had said there was no disappearance of cash from the vault, and the incident occurred because of a cash withdrawal by a VIP client beyond banking hours.