Foreign Currency

Illegal currency trading amounts to Tk 1.0b a day: ACC secretary

Anti-Corruption Commission Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said on Tuesday that the banking sector is being deprived of foreign currencies equivalent to approximately Tk 1.0 billion every day due to illegal buying and selling of foreign currencies.

The ACC secretary gave this information during a media briefing.

He said that the ACC has found evidence that some money exchangers, including Janata, Sonali, Agrani, Pubali, Prabasi Kalyan and Jamuna Bank inside the airport area, are involved in illegal buying and selling of foreign currency worth more than Tk 1.0 billion every day and money laundering.

He also said that after receiving information from intelligence sources and following a specific written complaint, an enforcement operation was conducted on Tuesday under the supervision of ACC Deputy Director Syed Nazrul Islam. After conducting the operation, an organised syndicate of banks and money exchangers involved in the black market of foreign currency was found.

According to the ACC, the valuable remittances in the form of cash and foreign currency brought in by expatriate wage earners and air passengers at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport are supposed to be deposited into the national reserve through banking channels. However, the unscrupulous bankers use the bank’s money without showing that it has been collected through banking channels and sell it in the market by themselves, which is later smuggled abroad again through money laundering. Thus, the economic structure of the country is being damaged by the smuggling of valuable foreign currency.

He also said that usually every day, thousands of expatriate workers and travellers from abroad come to Bangladesh through the airport.

“The foreign currency they bring with them is encashed in local currency (Bangladesh Taka) at bank booths and money exchangers at the airport. Foreign currency encashment vouchers are to be paid to the encasher as per laws, rules, and regulations. But some officials of banks and money exchangers accept foreign currency directly without giving vouchers or with fake vouchers and give money in exchange,” he added.

He also added that they also issue unsigned, fake vouchers/encashment slips. Banks and money exchange institutions buying this foreign currency do not include it in their principal/authorised account of the institution.

As a result, all these foreign currencies are not added to the central reserve of foreign currency, as a result of which Bangladesh has a shortage or crisis of foreign currency, the secretary commented.

The ACC raids involved Janata Bank, Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Pubali Bank, Pravasi Kalyan Bank, Jamuna Bank, etc., and some money exchange institutions, namely Etiya Money Exchange and Imperial Money Exchange, in illegal buying and selling of foreign currency and money laundering at the airport and found their authenticity.

The secretary also informed the journalists that the ACC operation found information true regarding illegally purchased dollars, euros, rials, ringgits, pounds, dinars, and other foreign currencies and illegally supplying them to foreign currency smugglers, the foreign currency black market, and money laundering abroad from Bangladesh.

During the operation, the enforcement team of ACC has collected primary data evidence, multiple fake vouchers and unsigned vouchers related to the purchase and sale of foreign currency by banks and money exchangers without encashment slips, and important information about the institutions and other related individuals involved in illegal foreign currency buying and selling, smuggling, and the black market.

The suspects and the involved bank officials are under the surveillance of the commission officials. Information about their patrons and associates is also being collected on the orders of the ACC, the secretary informed.

He also informed me that further legal action will be taken according to the ACC Act and Rules in this regard.

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