Janata Bank’s precarious state worries govt

Golam Mowla
Published : 06:00, Feb 06, 2019 | Updated : 06:00, Feb 06, 2019

Mired in corruption and irregularities, state-owned Janata Bank is in a precarious state. Reportedly, the bank is carrying out daily operation by taking loans and using up own capital. It also faced a huge financial loss.
As per central bank I formation, the defaulted loan of the bank has risen to Tk 114.88 billion in the last one year. In December 2017, the defaulted loan was Tk 58.18 billion which stood at Tk 173.05 billion in December 2018.
Of the 58 banks in the country, Janata Bank faces the highest default loan.
Of the defaulted loan, the names of two companies have come up, Crescent Group and Anantex Group.
Due to the loan scandal of Crescent Group, the foreign trade licence of Janata Bank’s Imamganj and Mohammadpur branches were revoked.
Stoppage of foreign trade has had a negative impact on the banks and in the last year, the number of loss-making branches has risen to 31.
In 2017, there were 57 loss-making branches which stood at 88 in December 2018.
The government is worried over the uncertain state of the bank. At a recent meeting, orders were given to take swift measures to realise the defaulted loan.
Former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor, Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, says, “Janata was among the best banks but at the moment, the institution is facing uncertainty due to lack of good governance.”
The bank has also failed miserably to realise loans. Against a target of recuperating Tk 5 billion, it only managed Tk 1.58 billion.
The bank also had a target to recover Tk 1.5 billion from liquidated loans, of which, only Tk 189.3 million was recovered.
Janata Bank officials say, “Crescent and AnonTex got huge loan facility from the bank but are not returning the loans.”
Instead, Anantex Group asked for more money from the bank. In this regard, the owner of the institution, Yunus Badal, met former finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
Though Anantex opened LC’s to import raw materials, it did not repay the money.
On behalf of Anantex, the bank paid foreign importers, which created forced loans.
Crescent Group took Tk 50 billion as the loan from government funds and Janata Bank. The company made false import bills and took facilities from the government.
Though they exported leather, the money never came to the country.
Two brothers are owners of the groups and they are MA Qauder and Abdul Aziz. Aziz is also the owner of Jaaz Multimedia and is being looked for by the police.
Customs officials have found evidence that these two brothers laundered Tk 9.2 billion. Previously, Janata Bank put the assets of Abdul Aziz to auction.
Janata Bank’s MD, Abdus Salam Azad, told Bangla Tribune, “We are trying to recover money from Crescent and Anantex; however they broke deadlines several times.”
It’s known that a large amount of loan was given to these two groups when Professor Dr Abul Barkat of the department of economics of Dhaka University was chairman of Janata Bank between Sept 9, 2009, and Sept 8, 2014.