A private banker has embezzled about Tk 4.97 crore from a client’s account by forging her signature. The banker’s wife assisted him in committing the crime, the Anti-Corruption Commission has found.
Yesterday, the ACC filed a case against the couple.
According to the case statement, Ferdousi Jaman, a client of Mutual Trust Bank, used to maintain a privilege account with its Banani branch in the capital. In the account, she had about Tk 6.6 crore in October 2016.
Two years later, she found that about Tk 4.97 crore was withdrawn using 60 cheques with her fake signatures.
Jahid Sarwar, the then manager at the privilege center of the MTB branch, had forged her signature and withdrawn the money, found the graft watchdog.
ACC Assistant Director Shafi Ullah lodged the case with its integrated district office, accusing Jahid and his wife Farhana Habib of committing forgery and laundering the money.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, the ACC official said the couple fled the country on an Emirates flight on October 19 last year.
The case statement said Ferdousi, along with one Maisha Abdullah, opened a joint account with the bank’s Banani branch on April 26, 2016, and deposited about TK 6.5 crore in the account between May 2 and 8 that year through three deposit slips.
On October 6, 2016, Ferdousi opened another savings account with the branch and transferred the total amount along with the accrued interest to the new account.
Both the accounts were maintained under the bank’s “privilege banking” scheme, which was under the supervision of Jahid.
On the same day, Ferdousi applied for issuing a cheque book against the new account. The cheque book was issued and shown given to the client on October 25, 2016. However, the client never received the book, reads the First Information Report (FIR) of the case.
Later, another cheque book was issued in April 2017. The ACC found that the book was issued upon a fake request from the client.
However, this time Ferdousi received the cheque book. She authorised one Ishtiaq Hossain Talukdar, who collected the book on her behalf, according to the case statement.
On August 23 that year, another application was filed with the MTB branch, seeking another cheque book. It was issued two days later. Signatures of the client in both the requisition slip and collection register were found to be fake.
On March 28 last year, another request was made for issuing a cheque book. This time, Jahid, also then assistant vice president of the bank, prepared a fake authorisation letter which said Ferdousi authorised him to collect the cheque on her behalf.
The client’s signature in the authorisation letter was fake, the graft watchdog found.
Each cheque book contains 25 pages. Ferdousi used only 14 pages of a cheque book to withdraw about Tk 1.46 crore.
“After verification by experts, it was found that the signatures in the 14 cheques were hers,” said the case statement.
However, Ferdousi’s signature was forged in the rest of the 60 cheques which were used by Jahid for withdrawing about Tk 4.97 crore.
Of the amount, Jahid deposited Tk 2.24 crore in his wife’s account in another private bank.
As transaction information is sent to clients through SMS, Jahid changed Ferdousi’s mobile phone number in the bank’s client database with his own number within 25 days of opening of the account.
To do so, the banker prepared a fake request form for changing the client’s mobile phone number.
The ACC verified the changed number with a mobile phone operator and found that the NID number used for its registration belonged to Jahid.
Contacted, MTB Managing Director and CEO Syed Mahbubur Rahman yesterday said they were conducting an investigation into the incident and action would be taken if anyone was found involved in irregularities.