Who will enforce laws while enforcers are in Uttara Finance scams?


Uttara Finance Ltd is yet to take any major steps against the officials allegedly involved in the Tk 5,100 crore scams unearthed by the Bangladesh Bank, although four months have passed since the central bank directed it to bring the culprits to the book.

The BB appointed KPMG in 2020 to audit the non-bank financial institution. The audit led to the finding of irregularities committed by a board member and some officials of Uttara Finance. It prompted the BB to remove Uttara Finance Managing Director SM Shamsul Arefin in June last year and dissolve the board in December. But no other officials who were allegedly involved in the scam have faced any action yet.

The irregularities at the NBFI were perpetrated during the disbursement of loans and mobilisation of deposits. It concealed the actual amount of term deposits mobilised from clients. Term deposits totalled Tk 1,877 crore as of December 2019. But a probe report of the BB found that the actual amount was Tk 2,603 crore.
The undisclosed amount of the term deposits to the tune of Tk 726 crore was diverted to other sectors as a part of its effort to help scamsters plunder the money. The lender also employed the same tactic in the calculation of loans disbursed.


For instance, the total amount of loans provided by the NBFI was Tk 1,877 crore till December 2019 as per its balance sheet. But the BB found the actual amount to be Tk 3,802 crore. Its net profit dropped 81 per cent year-on-year to Tk 21 crore in the January to September period of 2020. It was Tk 109 crore during the identical nine-month period in the previous year.

Central bank’s appointed audit firm KPMG found Uttara Finance invested in the shares of JMI Hospital, Beka Garments and Rangpur Distilleries where the NBFI made extra payments of Tk 2.29 crore. At least 24 top officials have been identified for the scam.

Failure of the government in containing a series of scams in the county’s banking sector, capital market and now in NBFIs comprehend the citizens that the government machineries directly or indirectly are benefited by the scams. Who will enforce laws while enforcers are in scams?