Hiding reserve theft info: Muhith cries action against BB officials

The government has initiated a move to punish Bangladesh Bank officials for delaying informing the finance ministry about the theft of $101 million from its reserve with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The bank and financial institutions division has decided to form an inquiry committee following lacklustre performance of the Bangladesh Bank in investigation into the theft.
Its secretary M Aslam Alam told New Age on Sunday that a decision was made to appoint a four-member committee to investigate the theft which was detected by the central bank on February 7.
A committee of the central bank began an investigation into the matter soon after the suspected Chinese hackers broke into the security system of the Bangladesh Bank and successfully transacted $81 million to the Philippines and $20 million to Sri Lanka on February 5.
Aslam Alam said the progress in the central bank’s investigation was not satisfactory.
He said the banking division was preparing terms and conditions of the probe committee.
Appointment of the committee would be announced soon, he said.
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said that action would be taken against the Bangladesh Bank for not informing him about the biggest ever cyber theft in time.
After a meeting with the Indian high commissioner in Dhaka at his office, Muhith said that it was the ‘audacity’ of the central bank to keep him in dark about the cyber theft for over a month, he said.
On March 7, central bank governor Atiur Rahman sent a letter to the finance minister informing him about the
theft after the incident had already grabbed the headlines in the local and foreign media.
Muhith said he would discuss the matter with the prime minister and then make a statement on the overall issue this afternoon.
He said that he was unhappy about the way the central bank had been dealing with the matter from the very beginning. ‘It was simply incompetence,’ he said.
Aslam Alam also expressed dissatisfaction with the policy of the central bank to keep both the finance ministry and its board of directors in dark about the incident.
After a meeting with the deputy governors of the central bank on Sunday, he said that the issue of theft was not discussed at any meeting of the Bangladesh Bank board of directors and none on the board, including him, could know about the theft.
Aslam said that an emergency meeting of the Bangladesh Bank board of directors was scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the matter.
He said the central bank governor, now in foreign trip, would chair the meeting.
He said that the central bank had recovered only $68,000 of the stolen money from the Philippines and $19.93 million from Sri Lanka.
Cyber security experts said that the using the central bank’s security code by computer hackers was impossible without any assistance of Bangladesh Bank officials.
Central bank deputy governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan said that it would need a fortnight to complete the ongoing investigation into the theft launched in early February.
He said that they would be able to inform the media about actual picture after the completion of the investigation.
The central bank is now verifying every transaction points of the stolen money including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to detect whether the NY Fed followed the due diligence, he said.
It is also analysing its existing security to fix the loophole, he said.
He said that the central bank would formally request the Federal of Bureau of Investigation to speed up the investigation.

source : the newage


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