Unwise political appointments in banks

Finance minister AMA Muhith in his realization in June last year blamed the partisan appointment in the board of directors of different state-owned banks terming it liable for big loan forgeries, but to our utter surprise, the ministry is once again disappointing the nation with another demi-official letter to appoint a political leader to a post of a state-owned financial institution. Reports of an bdreports24English daily on Wednesday said, the bank and financial institution division was reviewing a proposal for appointment of a Jatiya Party presidium member that was forwarded to the finance minister last month by prime minister’s political adviser HT Imam. Past experiences show how much it was vulnerable to the banking sector with the political appointees who are reportedly involved in most of the loan scams occurred during the last two or more years. Therefore, a sense of insecurity is looming large with another appointment, having a possibility of looting people’s money kept under an honest trust in banks.

However, at the time when the adviser requested, the country’s state-owned banks like Sonali, BASIC and Janata are trying to recover the losses they suffered due to a series of loan scams that took place because of inept and dishonest directors appointed on political consideration by the ruling party. Sonali Bank has been suffering with the single-biggest loan forgery of Tk 3,500 crore cheated in 2012 by Hallmark Group. The bank is yet to recover any single penny. Bismillah Group swindled Tk 1,200 crore from Janata Bank. Basic Bank disbursed Tk 4,236 crore violating banking rules by its previous board of director led by Sheikh Abdul Hye Bachchu who served as the bank’s chairman from 2009 to June 2014.

As the minister in charge of Finance Ministry himself expressed anxiety over political appointments in the banks’ board of directors, hence it must not be sound and legitimate to involve the persons in banks who have only political experience but a poor knowledge of banking. When the people expect the government to reform the banking sector after the unexampled loan scams in the country’s banking sector occurred during its tenure, but the government seems indifferent to the security of public money deposited in its banking outlets. Still a high number of government nominated directors dominated the baking boards pushing the sector to more vulnerability. There still remain at least 40 per cent of the directors in the state-owned financial institutions enjoyed political blessings, which might lead to new loans scandals.

It is reported that the prime minister made the request for this appointment lobbied by Rawshan Ershad, who became opposition leader after the lop-sided Jan 5 elections. So, the parliament when itself is yearning for people’s expectations, then forwarding an unethical caprice to the PM is not signifying a good wish. We ask the government to disregard such unjust whim for the interest of banking sector. No more political appointments, rather the government should remove them who helm the banking sector with only the blessing of power party politics.


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