Counterfeit pay orders submitted to Mongla Port

16 October 2021

Our  Correspondent :
Pay orders for Tk.36.40 lakh sent to Mongla Customs House in order to take delivery of the auctioned reconditioned cars (imported) and other goods were detected as fake or counterfeited. In this connection complaints were raised against three business establishments of Dhaka (under City Corporation). They are Siddique Traders of Nabinagar area, Monalisa Aktar Souma of Dhanmondi area and Bashir Ahmed of Bangsal area. They were the highest bidders of the auction.
After the detection of the forgery of the pay orders those establishments were blacklisted. In this connection Customs House registered a case with Mongla PS against them. But the case was not recorded though 2 months were already over. It was earlier mentioned that those 3 black listed business establishments were considered as the highest bidders of the auction. Just before the issuing the final order to those three highest bidders when the concerned authorities began to scrutinize all the Seven pay orders submitted with their tenders were declared as forged by the concerned banks.
Then Rumman Ali, Assistant Finance Officer of the Customs House made a complaint with Mongla PS on August 22, (2021) as the plaintiff against Zahid Siddique Reza, Monalisa Aktar Suma and Bashir Ahmed. In this connection Moniruzzaman, Officer-in-charge of Mongla PS told, the case lodged with the PS by the Customs House is defective. So, the Customs House was requested to make it correct or to lodge a fresh case with the PS and after then it will be treated as an FIR.
In the case it is stated that on June 13 (2021), the Customs House invited tenders for auction in favour of 40 lots of goods and the last date for submitting the tenders was June 29, 2021. In this auction a good number of tenders were submitted to the Customs House on be half of a huge number of business establishments. The imported goods were sold on July 29 (2021). In favour of goods (imported cars and other articles) of 5 lots were sold in auction at Tk.55 crors. 95 lakh 8 thousand 6 hundred 43 to 3 business establishments who were already considered as the highest bidders and they submitted 7 fake pay orders of Tk.36.40 lakh with their tenders. But at the time of unloading of the goods all the seven pay orders were detected as counterfeit. 5 pay orders of IFIC bank contained no names of the (bank) branches.
It is alleged that with the co-operation of some dishonest staff of (Mongla Port) Customs House a group of frauds had been enjoying the illegal benefits through the auction proceedings for a long period of time. As a result, the real and genuine traders had been derived so far. The auction syndicate was so powerful that the ordinary traders could not raise their voice against them. But after the detection of the fake pay orders the staff of Customs House took their seats after pacing up and down.
Ahsanur Rahman Arju, a member of the Executive Committee of "Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association" (BRVIDA) told, our show rooms were closed down for long one and a half year following the corona pandemic. So, our financial condition really became deplorable.
It was a commitment of our premier Sheikh Hasina in her last national election manifesto that she would make viable the almost dead Mongla Sea Port and she maintained her commitment. In response to her call we started to import reconditioned vehicles through Mongla Port. But without any consultation with us the concerned authorities have thrown out us to the open street after selling hundred of imported cars in auction. Not only that but also imported vehicles were previously sold in auction once in a month. But at present it is now being done twice in a month.
He added, we, the businessmen are not getting any help or sympathy from any quarters in the corona pandemic. It seems to us that a group of conspirators who have been lying around the port area are trying to undo Mongla port through conspiracy. They are, perhaps, involved in this auction scandal. They are trying to be multi-millionaires over night after purchasing the auction through fake pay orders. On the other hand, the showrooms of many of us (importers) are being closed down. Two months were already passed after the detection of the fake pay orders no FIR was recorded in the concerned PS.
When contacted Zahid Siddique Reza, the owner of M/S. Siddique Trading told the local newsmen over mobile phone, in case of auction such an incident (fake pay order) takes place very often and it is not a criminal offence. If the authorities issue notice to me in this connection I shall reply to that. It is the duty of the concerned authorities to scrutinize all the papers and documents submitted with the tenders. Mongla Customs House did their duties rightly. My business establishment was black listed by the concerned authorities.
 If it is in their laws I have no objection at all.
In this connection Hossain Ahmed, Customs Commissioner told, we sold the cars imported 10/15 year ago in auction. With the introduction of the sale of imported cars in auction the importers are compelled to take away their (imported) cars within a short time. As a result, we earned about Tk.9 hundred crores as extra income. We already lodged a case with the local PS in connection with the fake pay orders and the concerned business establishments were black listed. Police will try to find out some others are involved in the matter (fake pay orders) or not after investigating into he matter properly.

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