There is no doubt about the fact that money laundering is disastrous for economy. So is smuggling. A news report said smuggling of gold mostly coming from Dubai and carried on Bangladesh Biman flights, has become a daily phenomenon, with more than 1500 kgs of gold seized at Dhaka and Chittagong airports over the last one year. The report said a large quantity of gold may have found safe passage out of the airports in collaboration with dishonest airline and airport officials.
One well-knit syndicate involved in passing the smuggled gold out of the airport. Then, a political syndicate, take over, ferrying the gold to the borders with India – which is the biggest buyer of smuggled gold and pays lucrative commission to the syndicate. The report further said gold smugglers play a puzzle for law enforcement agencies. They facilitated small quantity of gold to be seized by the Customs and in the haze of that take much bigger quantities safely out of the airport.
Jewellery traders indulge in ‘hundi’; Basic Bank
So, in many cases, recovery of a little quantity of gold means a huge consignment of gold has at the same time been smuggled into the country, on way to India. Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested several members of a gold smuggling racket including Bangladesh Biman (BB) officials recently. Jewellery traders in Dhaka and Chittagong also indulge in ‘hundi’ transaction to run their business. ( see The Daily Observer, dated November 23, 2014) When this is the condition of gold smuggling the FM said, the government is yet to take any step. Effective measures against gold smuggling would be introduced I the next budget.
Another news report said, according to an inquiry of Bangladesh Bank, about Tk. 4500 crore was swindled out from the Basic Bank in last six years while Sheikh Abdul Hye Bachhu, who was connected to high officials of the ruling party, served as its chairman. About Tk.1,000 (one thousand) crore was plundered from the bank by 54 private companies while taking out loans presenting fake documents. On September 9, the ACC approved proposals to file 54 cases against 80 – 85 individuals including bank officials. (The Daily Observer, September22, 2015).
A news report said a single business house has swindled Tk.3,600 crore from the state –owned Sonali Bank under the cover of an influential adviser to P M (The Holiday, dated Februaary 1, 2013). Another news report said, in collaboration with the officials of Sonali Bank, local office, Altex Industries and five others misappropriated Tk. 1,600 crore since they delivered the goods without making any payment to the respective account. Green Printers misappropriated TK. 141 crore through 300 fake LICs from Agargaon branch. ANS Group alongwith some other companies siphoned off Tk. 281 crore. Another party against such fake bills has swallowed Tk. 3 crore from the Foreign Exchange Branch at Motijheel since credit disbursed in their favour has not been realized as yet. Bangabandhu Corporate Branch has also lost Tk.5 crore against 4 L\Cs valued at Tk. 250 crore.
The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) is an autonomous and collaborative international organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand consisting of 41 members and a number of international and regional observers. Some of the key international organisations who participate with, and support, the efforts of the APG in the region include the Financial Action Task Force, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Asian Development Bank and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
APG members and observers are committed to the effective implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in particular the Forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).
The APG has five primary functions
Mutual evaluations: assess compliance by APG members with the global AML/CFT standards through a mutual evaluation (peer review) programme; Technical assistance and training: coordinate bi-lateral and donor-agency technical assistance and training in the Asia/Pacific region in order to improve compliance by APG members with the global AML/CFT standards;
Typologies research: conduct research and analysis into money laundering and terrorist financing methods to better inform APG members and the general public of trends, methods, risks and vulnerabilities of the financial and non-financial sectors to these crimes;
Global policy development: participate in, and contribute to, policy development of the international AML/CFT standards by active participation in the global network of FSRBs; and
Private sector engagement: provide information to the private sector to better inform them of international developments in AML/CFT and provide a forum for them to engage with the APG.
The APG also assists its members to establish national coordination mechanisms to better utilise resources to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.