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Govt weakness exposed in bringing money from Philippines

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07th-Feb-2018       
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TWO years have elapsed since the cyber criminals looted US$101 million from Bangladesh Bank reserve, but the looted money is yet not recovered except some fruitless efforts by the government here and there. News media reported that central bank could not bring back a single penny from the Philippines in the last 12 months. Obviously, it is very much frustrating.

The central bank, since the unprecedented reserve heist on February 5, 2015, was able to return only $14.55 million from Manila in November 2016. Since then there has been no success in bringing back the remaining $66.45 million which made the experts suspicious about the reserve recovery efforts by a task force and frequent visits by BB and other government officials to Manila.

The BB heist was marked as one of the most organised financial crimes in the global financial history. The then governor of the central bank quitted following the incident. Ordinary people are still in dark how the crime was committed and what effort the government had taken to realise the amount. A probe body led by former central bank governor Farashuddin was formed to probe the heist. But the report has yet not come to light despite Finance Minister's repeated assurances. Not making the probe report public, the government exposed its serious weakness. All the evidences indicate that a system is working to kill time and make the people forget the incident.

We know that stolen money recovery process is lengthy and time-consuming. A team comprising police and BB officials are now in Manila as a part of the efforts to recover $8.2 million while the BB is awaiting settlement of legal process launched by the anti-money laundering unit of Philippines. It seems that the government agencies failed to keep pressure on the Philippines for returning the stolen fund due to 'lack of coordination' and 'weaknesses'.

When the government is campaigning for "Digital Bangladesh", the digital heist by digital thieves is exposing our vulnerability to financial security. The people's perception regarding the heist is not positive for the government. The citizens have the right to know the probe report. They want to know who were responsible for the heist.

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