Bank using profits to fund militants: Dhaka minister

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DHAKA - A bank in Bangladesh is spending eight percent of its profits to fund militants in the country, State Minister for Home Shamsul Huq Tuku has alleged.

The Islami Bank Bangladesh is spending the money through the Islami Bank Foundation, Tuku told officials here Monday at a meeting on ways to combat militancy.

According to a statement on its website, the bank had a net profit of Tk 3,528 million ($49.69 million) in the nine months to September 2010.

The Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), established in 1983, is a leading private bank that works on non-profit basis as prescribed by Islamic Shariah.

The home ministry has asked the bank authorities to submit a report before April 7 on where the bank spent its profits, Tuku said.

He said the ministry asked the intelligence agencies to prepare a report on how the bank spends its “Zakat” (donation to the poor).

He added that he has information that the bank spent its Zakat fund in 16 phases though it is permitted to spend it in eight phases.

Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker and Rapid Action Battalion Director General Mukhlesur Rahman also attended the meeting.

The home ministry has intelligence report that the bank is spending a certain amount of its profits to spread militancy, a source told The Daily Star.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) in November last year asked its General Manager S.M. Moniruzzaman to identify any suspicious transaction by Islami Bank Bangladesh and its foundation.

A BB official said the general manager is tasked with overseeing the overall activities of the bank and monitoring its fund transfer to the foundation.

Islami Bank’s official Mohammad Abdul Mannan, however, denied the bank’s involvement in financing militants.

“If we fund militants then why don’t the authorities concerned halt our banking?” he told the newspaper.

Filed under: Terrorism

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