Destiny destined to face actionStaff Correspondent
Commission on cards to prevent asset transfers: Muhith
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Saturday said the government was going to take action against the multi-level marketing company Destiny Group which had lured millions of investors into a trap promising higher profits.
‘Destiny will face action similar to the action the government took against Jubok a few years ago,’ he told reporters after a meeting with the visiting Mayor Councillor of Camden in the UK, Abdur Quader, at his secretariat office.s
The finance minister’s remarks came about a week after the national dailies quoting the findings of Bangladesh Bank inspection published reports of a series of financial fraudulence by the Destiny Group and its main subsidiary Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited.
Activities of the Jubo Karmasangsthan Society, better known as Jubok, were suspended in 2006 following its illegal banking operation. The government set up a commission last year to refund more than Tk 20 billion to Jubok’s 267,000 clients.
The finance minister said a similar commission would now be launched to prevent asset transfers by Destiny Group and DMCSL which accumulated savings from 4.7 million members.
Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman cautiously welcomed the government initiatives terming it a ‘belated action’.
‘The move will at least guarantee that no more people will fall into the trap of Destiny,’ he told New Age on Saturday. The government in order to win public trust has to ensure that the proposed commission does not delay bringing the culprits to book.
Former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan echoed the TIB executive.
‘Let us see what actions the government takes [against Destiny].
He suggested that the government should strengthen the state monitoring agencies to check such financial fraudulence by any companies in future.
Dhaka University students on Saturday formed a human chain demanding that the activities of Destiny should be stopped. They called for steps to protect the people from the clutches of MLM companies.
Under the banner of ‘Sachetan Sadharan Shiksharthibrinda’ they formed the human chain in front of Raju Sculpture on the campus.
They said MLM companies were deceiving people to multiply their profits. They demanded immediate government action against such companies.
The inspection report of BB, which had long been suggesting action against Destiny, alerted the government.
Muhith told reporters that he had gone through the BB report and directed his ministry to take necessary actions to protect the interests of the investors.
The BB report, submitted to the finance ministry on March 20, found illegal banking by the DMCSL. The BB also recommended 14 actions, including an immediate ban on the DMCSL’s membership collection drive and transfers of funds to other companies.
‘Jubok couldn’t transfer all assets as its property was confiscated. In that way, the clients can be compensated to some extent. A commission will be formed in the similar way,’ he added.
The finance minister said the ministries of finance and commerce, and other relevant departments had already started work to set up the commission.
The BB took action against ITCL, a multi-level marketing company, nine years ago. It issued public statements after ITCL had failed to give satisfactory reply to the queries by the BB on its financial irregularities.
Besides, cases were filed by the BB against the ITCL and its executives. An administrator was also appointed by the central bank to refund the money to the clients. But the clients are yet to get back their money.
Destiny has not supplied key papers and documents sought by the Anti-Corruption Commission that is probing the alleged money laundering by the company, said an ACC official on Saturday.
‘ACC has been given papers excluding the bank accounts,’ an ACC investigator said, adding that the bank accounts were key documents.
ACC needs to examine them to probe money laundering and other financial fraudulence, he said.
The ACC official ruled out any chances of delay in the probe against the suspected company saying they would have the bank account documents soon.
The ACC officials said they had prosecuted Unipay2u, a multi-level marketing company, in January 2011 following similar procedures.
ACC filed money laundering cases against Unipay2u for collecting Tk 2.46 billion from people illegally.
New Age Kurigram correspondent said multi-level marketing company Destiny had cheated people at a remote village in Kurigram in a single project of tree plantation.
Destiny officials lured 79 people Purba Dhaniram into leasing out 120 acres of land to it for tree plantation.
As per the deed, Destiny agreed to pay them Tk 14 million as lease fees and paid them several lakh Taka and planted 10,000 saplings in 2010.
Destiny was supposed to pay the entire lease fees in 90 days, but abandoned the project and left the place before the deadline.
Destiny also lured villagers into investing in tree plantation projects in other districts, including Chittagong Hill Tracts promising higher returns.
Golam Rabbani, a service holder, said he had invested Tk 10,000 in the tree plantation project in Chittagong as the group promised to refund five times the amount in 10 years.
‘Not only me, but many other public and private service holders of the districts invested money in the tree plantation project.’
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