National Bank scam: How the bank was destroyed by corruption and mismanagement

National Bank scam: How the bank was destroyed by corruption and mismanagement

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National Bank is one of the first generation banks in the private sector of Bangladesh. When it began operations in 1983, the bank's first chairman was Azizur Rahman Mallick, the founding vice-chancellor of Chittagong University and former finance minister. Although he did not own any shares in the bank, the investors initially kept him on as chairman for 10 years. After this the shareholders took over the post of Chairman. The National Bank even then had a good reputation as a good bank. Things changed from 2009.

Zainul Haq Sikdar took over as chairman of the bank that year. It is alleged that after this, good investors were more or less forced to leave the bank. The condition of the bank started deteriorating. But the wealth of the Sikdar family started increasing. Sikdar Group's business extended to insurance, power, health, education, housing, construction, hotels, tourism, aviation and much more. Documents show that his business is spread abroad also. He also has investments in US, UAE, Thailand, UK, Singapore, Switzerland and other countries.

According to a Bangladesh Bank report regarding the National Bank, “Many loans taken from the National Bank have been deposited in the bank accounts of the Sikdar family and their companies. The family is also taking money from the bank through fake loans. These loans are not being returned. Moreover, the bank has provided loans to some companies and these loans are rarely recovered. Nevertheless, these loans are not marked as default loans.

According to bank records, defaults by the bank totaled Taka 3.88 billion (Taka 388 crore) in 2009. In December last year, it was Tk 123.68 billion (Tk 12,368 crore). A total of loans worth Tk 427.7 billion (Tk 42,770 crore) were disbursed by the bank in December.

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