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Bangladesh Bank asks CID to probe transactions by 3,000 bKash agents

Bangladesh Bank asks CID to probe transactions by 3,000 bKash agents

DHAKA: Bangladesh Bank has asked the police to investigate ‘irregular’ transactions by around 3,000 agents of mobile money transfer service provider bKash. The central bank’s spokesperson Shubhankar Saha told on Thursday that it asked the Criminal Investigation Department or CID to check the transactions after the Financial Intelligence Unit of the bank gathered ‘specific information’ on the dealings. CID Special Superintendent of Police Molla Nazrul Islam told his department received a report from the central bank on the transactions by 2,887 bKash agents earlier in the day. “We will investigate the transactions,” he said. bKash Limited Head of Corporate Communications Shamsuddin Haider Dalim told they have not received instructions from the central bank. “We will act once we get instructions,” he said. bKash, a joint venture of  BRAC Bank, US-based Money in Motion,  International Finance Corporation of World Bank Group and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was launched in 2011. Around 70 percent of Bangladesh’s mobile money transfers take place through bKash. A huge part of the mobile banking agents across the country belong to the company.

Central bank Director Saha said the process to check transactions by agents of other mobile banking service providers was under way. He said irregularities found in inspections by Financial Intelligence Unit, Bangladesh Bank’s study on decreasing inflow of remittance, information given by bKash, complaints received from different sources, and information given by law-enforcing and intelligence agencies have been analysed to make the list of ‘irregular’ transactions.   A CID official said these agents under investigation had not followed Bangladesh Bank’s instructions in making the transactions. The timing of the transactions was also ‘suspicious’, he added. The Bangladesh Bank report said some of the agents had opened different individual accounts using same identity cards.