Sonali Bank board has rejected any possibility of rescheduling Hall-Mark Group’s loans worth Tk 2,554 crore that were taken out through fraudulent means despite the Group’s inability to repay the amount.
The decision, taken on Monday, was arrived at after assessing Hall-Mark Group’s total asset, their repayment capacity and their lawyers’ opinion, and was conveyed to the finance ministry’s banking division on Wednesday.
The state-owned bank also concluded that the Group does not have the capacity to repay the loans and therefore proposed filing several cases against the disgraced company, said a finance ministry official upon condition of anonymity.
The move comes after the finance ministry in March asked Sonali Bank to evaluate the Group’s assets and send a proposal to the ministry such that the company’s operations can be resumed.
In the letter to the finance ministry, Sonali Bank said the Group’s assets are worth about Tk 1,170 crore but it has a shortfall of Tk 1,000 crore in collateral against its total loans.
As of June 30, Hall-Mark Group’s outstanding amount to Sonali Bank stood at Tk 2,554 crore. Around Tk 200 crore was taken out as loan and the rest through various irregularities.
The official cited the withdrawal of Tk 1,000 crore against a “mere slip” as an example of the irregularities that took place.
According to the six lawyers that Sonali Bank consulted, the cases have to be filed within three years of detection of the irregularities.
Bangladesh Bank in May last year unearthed the wrongdoings in the state-run bank, which ended up being the biggest banking fraud in the country’s history. The offences took place between 2010 and 2012.
The Anti-Corruption Commission has already lodged 11 cases against several officials of Hall-Mark Group and Sonali Bank, but there has been none by Sonali Bank yet.
According to Sonali Bank’s latest data, Hall-Mark Group took loans of Tk 2,964 crore, of which it has already adjusted Tk 410 crore. As a result, the company still owes the state-run bank Tk 2,554 crore.
The Daily Star