A bold voice against financial fraud no more | The Daily Star
10:42 AM, February 24, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:12 PM, February 24, 2021


A bold voice against financial fraud no more

At a time when raising voice against financial scammers is challenging given the immense influence enjoyed by the vested quarter, Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled took a bold stance against swindlers in the banking sector.

He became a torchbearer by way of giving his valuable recommendations to protect financial institutions from delinquent borrowers.

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In many cases, the authorities concerned did not accept Khaled's suggestions due to pressure from influential quarters, but his stubborn stance helped create a strong opinion against fraudsters in society.

The woes of the banking sector is still ongoing due to a continuous relaxation of rules and regulations in helping large borrowers at a time when many scammers are enjoying a culture of impunity.

A question has now surfaced: who will take a bold stance against the perpetrators in the financial sector after Khaled's departure?

The unexpected demise of Khaled this morning, at the age of 80, has silenced a voice against the lack of corporate governance in banks.

The prominent economist and former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank breathed his last at 5:45am today at the intensive care unit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).

Khaled was admitted at the hospital on February 11 with post-Covid-19 complications.

He had earlier tested positive for coronavirus infection and was admitted to Bangladesh Specialized Hospital last month.

Khaled was born on July 4, 1941 in Gopalganj and earned his graduation and post-graduation degrees from Dhaka University's science faculty and then completed his MBA from Institute of Business Administration in the same institution.

He commenced his banking career as a probationary officer of Habib Bank in 1963 and engaged with different banks including the central bank for more than four decades.

He was appointed as managing director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank in 1994 and broke the traditional rules by starting to visit rural areas in order to observe the sufferings of farmers.

This might be the first incidence of visiting rural areas by an MD of a bank.

Khaled listened to the problems of farmers with utmost patience and arranged meetings at district level with the deputy commissioner concerned as part of his efforts to give out loans to underprivileged farmers.

He also served at Sonali Bank as its MD for one year in 1997 and also held the same post in Agrani Bank for one year in 1996.

Between 1998 and 2000, he was the deputy governor of the central bank and drew attention from different corners because of his outspokenness against delinquent borrowers.

During his tenure as deputy governor, he vehemently criticized the scammers at a programme held at a city hotel, saying that a mafia group had control over the banking sector in presence of then Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria. Khaled's forthright speech also baffled the finance minister at the programme.

After completing his tenure in the central bank, he joined Pubali Bank as its MD, when the lender was struggling to survive because of its ailing financial health. The lender was identified as a problem bank after reeling from a wide range of financial scams.

But Khaled restored the corporate governance of the bank and turned it into a profit-making institution. Between 2000 and 2006, he established corporate governance in the bank and the trend is continued to date.

The country's capital market faced a bubble-and-burst in 2010 that drove many investors away after which the government formed a four-member committee led by Khaled in January 2011 in order to look into the matter.

The committee submitted a report in April that year based mostly on interviews with stakeholders.

He publicly blamed the share market regulator 'responsible for the failure to control the market' where rampant illegal trading is alleged.

Although Khaled's suggestions to strengthen the capital market had hardly been implemented, his strict stance against the unholy nexus is still an example to fight against the vested quarters in the financial sector.

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