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Manila daily said it was our fault, and questioned why BB investigation stopped

By Editorial Desk
18th-Sep-2016       
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The Manila Standard on September 16 has raised the critical question as to why the government of Bangladesh has stopped investigation into the US$ 81 million money heist from its Federal Reserve Bank account and don't want to know the truth behind the theft. It wondered why the government is pressing instead the Philippines government to return the fund without fixing the blame. The daily has struck to the core point when it claimed the Philippines government has investigated and trying perpetrators at its end and Bangladesh now owes its probe to share with global public.

The sensational disclosure in the report that the code of the computers used in hacking the fund was in the custody of a brother of a senior Bangladesh Bank official has in fact clearly hinted how the money heist was made possible. Following that the removal of the Governor of Bangladesh Bank and two Deputy Governors instead of producing them before public investigation invariably suggests the kind of a cover up which the Philippines daily has rightly pointed out.
 
The daily has blamed Bangladesh Bank as the 'biggest stumbling block' to the recovery of the stolen money by leaving the investigation without making public the probe report. The CID probe report is nowhere. Finance Minister AMA Muhith has declined to make public the three-member probe report led by Dr Mohammad Farashuddin saying it will create problem in recovery of the money. It means the report has flashed out local perpetrators and the government is not ready to divulge their identity.

The theft succeeded clearly, the daily said because BB was negligent. Had the bank installed enough firewalls and used quality switches instead of $5 gear, the heist would not have occurred. It is indeed strange nobody has raised these issues in public in Bangladesh and the daily said an expert who raised the question was whisked away in murky circumstances and return to family later on in a shattered condition. 

The Manila Standard wondered why Bangladesh Ambassador to Manila, John Gomes, is demanding the refund of money claiming it was an outsider job when Bangladesh is not making its probe report public. It said Bangladesh Finance Minister had earlier asserted that it was an insider job; which is by far the most credible explanation to the cyber robbery. Many fear that by withholding the probe Bangladesh government is trying to sidetrack the real perpetrators whose identity may be politically damaging.

"How can the theft happen if six different BB officials had to place their palm prints on a plate in proper sequence before any order to move funds could happen, the daily has rightly raised the question demanding full investigation report of the Bangladesh government before pressing for money. The Philippines government has been more than generous it said in helping BB. The least BB can do is to give its report to break the truth.

Why Bangladesh don't want to know the truth before asking for help from the Philippines government, the daily raised the issue pointing out that it is incumbent upon Bangladesh government to submit a full report to the Philippines government, detailing what happened in Bangladesh. The daily has asserted the point with full justification. "We washed our dirty linen in the global public. They owe us that report," the daily said quoting a banker involved in the probe process.

The fact that Bangladesh Bank did not sue the New York Federal Reserve where the money was transferred from clearly shows it had nothing to do with the theft. The local Philippines bank was not also involved, one of its employees was personally involved and she is facing trial, the daily said passing all blames on Bangladesh and its faulty safety system and some of its dishonest officials.

Quoting the New York Times the Manila Standard said over $565 million were looted from state-owned BASIC Bank between 2009 and 2012, yet the mastermind who was close associate of the government was exempted from Anti-Corruption Commission investigating. The culture of impunity is what is everywhere and the banks and financial system are the biggest targets of swindlers moving money out of the country.

The government cannot play game with the international banking management. Our government has no accountability within our country. It was a blunder for the government to withdraw the Governor of Bangladesh Bank and exempt him from investigation by Anti-Corruption Commission. This act clearly indicates the government's anxiousness not to worry about the stealing of unprecedentedly high amount of foreign exchange from Bangladesh Bank.

The government will not be able to escape liability. The present is not everything. We urge the government to come clean and allow honest investigation.

Impunity for corruption must not extend too far.

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