Bribe and take a loan — that is how Mahbubul Haque Chisty operated the now defunct Farmers Bank as its former audit committee chairman.
The borrowers’ financial health or ability to repay loans were not factors.
Therefore, it was easy for Regent Hospital Chairman Mohammad Shahed, accused in a case filed over issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, to get away with a loan of Tk 2 crore.
Shahed bribed Chisty — accused in five cases filed last year for illegally amassing Tk 135.45 crore — Tk 35 lakh to get the loan, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found in its enquiry.
Yesterday, ACC’s Deputy Assistant Director Mohammad Sahajahan Meraz filed a case against Shahed, Managing Director of Regent Hospital Ibrahim Khalil, Chisty and his son Rashedul Haque Chisty.
Rashedul was the managing director of Bakshiganj Jute Spinners and founding shareholder of Farmers Bank, which is now known as Padma Bank.
Shahed was recently arrested by Rab and is accused in several forgery cases.
According to ACC’s case statement, Shahed opened a current account with Gulshan Corporate Branch of Farmers Bank on January 11, 2015.
On the same day, he applied to the manager of the branch for a Tk 2 crore loan to buy an MRI machine worth around Tk 3.4 crore for his hospital.
In his application, Shahed pledged to keep Tk 1 crore FDR as mortgage against the loan.
Without analysing any credit risk grading and checking Shahed’s financial ability to repay the loan or his business performance, the corporate branch the next day sent a recommendation letter to the corporate division of the principal branch to sanction the Tk 2 crore loan.
The following day, the credit risk management division of the bank submitted a memo to the then executive committee chairman Chisty, detailing Shahed’s financial state. Chisty approved the memo the same day.
On January 15, 2015, at the 21st meeting of the committee chaired by Chisty, the memo was produced and approved.
On January 18, the credit risk management division sent the loan approval letter to the Gulshan Corporate Branch.
On the same day, Shahed deposited Tk 35 lakh in cash at the Bakshiganj Jute Spinners Ltd account with Farmers Bank at the Bakshiganj branch.
Chisty’s son Rashedul withdrew the money over two days — January 18 and 20 — according to the ACC.
“In the enquiry it is found that there was no business relationship between Bakshiganj Spinners Ltd and Regent Hospital. Depositing Tk 35 lakh by the borrower before the issuance of loan makes it clear that Rashedul took the bribe and with the help of his father sanctioned the loan,” reads the First Information Report (FIR).
On January 19, the loan was issued to Shahed upon the condition of keeping the MRI machine and Tk 1 crore FDR as collateral.
On the same day, the Gulshan corporate branch issued a Tk 2 crore pay order to MRI supplier Arby’s Medical Equipment.
The loan was cleared through Shahjalal Islami Bank’s Uttara branch on January 21, 2015.
ACC found that no documents regarding the purchase of the MRI were submitted to the bank, and neither had the bank kept the MRI as mortgage.
ACC’s enquiry officer found that the loan was not used to purchase the MRI. “The money was laundered and the bank issued the loan without keeping collateral,” said the FIR.
Shahed did not repay the loan. Later, the bank reconciled the loan with Tk 1 crore FDR. The total outstanding amount, including the loan and interest, stood at Tk 2.71 crore on July 15, 2020.
Last week, the ACC filed another case against Shahed and three others for misappropriating a Tk 1.51-crore loan from NRB bank.
He took the loan from the bank in November 2014.