Hundi Business yet unstoppable thru bKash
The illegal hundi business has been thriving in recent years through the use of mobile banking, raising concerns. Amidst this backdrop, the Noakhali Police’s Crime Investigation Division (CID) has apprehended two individuals, Shahadat Hossain (23) and Bolai Chandra Das (26), including a bKash agent, for their involvement in hundi operations in the Chatkhil area of Noakhali. The arrested individuals are reported to have connections with hundi operators in various countries, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. These details have been obtained from reliable sources.
According to sources, several bKash agents have previously been arrested on allegations of involvement in illicit hundi businesses. In September of last year (2022), a bKash agent named Md. Abul Hasan was apprehended by the CID in Shahjadpur, the capital city from Dhaka. He was found to be engaged in illegal hundi activities using his bKash agent position. In January 2018, eight bKash agents were also arrested by the CID from various districts, including Rajshahi, Pabna, and Mymensingh.
According to sources from Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), 31 bKash agents suspected of involvement in hundi activities have had their accounts frozen and their agent contracts terminated. Additionally, the organization is currently scrutinizing reports of 34 transactions related to hundi. The BFIU has forwarded 11 intelligence reports on hundi and trade-based money laundering to the relevant law enforcement agencies for necessary actions.
In addition, reports on two suspicious transactions related to hundi have been forwarded to the respective law enforcement agencies for implementation. Simultaneously, the BFIU has recommended taking measures against 51 websites, 12 social media pages, and 15 apps involved in illegal forex, betting, and cryptocurrency transactions. It has been learned that 2intelligence reports on currency smuggling and trade misinvoicing have been sent to the CID. Furthermore, 9 suspicious reports on the same matter are currently under review.
The BFIU has revealed that a total of 218 remittances, amounting to over a billion taka, have entered the country through legitimate channels following moral scrutiny and unblocking. According to the information from Financial Intelligence, these accounts have received remittances totaling 1 crore 1 lakh 86 thousand 391 taka through valid channels.
Due to the vigilance of the BFIU in mobile banking, the image of hundi business has been tarnished in agent banking. Currently, the BFIU has conducted an analysis of certain accounts, where the existence of hundi transactions has been identified by the institution.
It was also known, a high-ranking official of the BFIU informed Orthosongbad that Bangladesh Financial Intelligence is working towards shutting down hundi operations, cryptocurrency, and gambling sites.
Additionally, Shamshuddin Haider Dalim, a communication officer at bKash, said that there is no opportunity to engage in hundi business through bKash. bKash operates only within Bangladesh and does not work outside the country.
Agents are our business partners. They are not only agents of bKash but also agents of other operators. Agents primarily work for 4-5 MFS companies. It wouldn’t be accurate to simply label them as bKash agents because it is not possible to know who their actual agents are. In addition, many agents are unaware that it involves hundi transactions. The individuals arrested by the CID are MFS agents. Due to bKash being a well-known brand, they are referred to as bKash agents.
He further states that the measures taken in various illegal transactions are based on the information we provide. bKash regularly generates reports on suspicious transactions based on our own initiatives and submits them to the Bangladesh Bank and BFIU (Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit). However, the investigation is conducted based on the information we provide.
Shamshuddin Haider Dalim says that now there are significant transactions taking place through bKash. ‘Now, do I want people to engage in illegal activities using my platform?’ In Bangladesh, there are around 10 lakh agents who are agents of both bKash and other operators. Among them, we inform the Bangladesh Bank and BFIU about any suspicious transaction based on our provided information. We take action against those who are found guilty. We have also canceled the agency of several such agents. We do this in our own interest and as part of regular practice.
bKash has recently entered into a brand partnership agreement with the Argentine Football Association (AFA). As a result, the mobile financial service provider from Bangladesh has become a sponsor of the Argentine football team. The official announcement of this collaboration has also been made on the AFA website. Recognizing the immense popularity of the Argentine football team in the Asian region, the marketing department of the association has taken steps to expand their brand presence in this region by partnering with bKash. While it is known that bKash will sponsor the Argentine football team, further details about their collaboration with Lionel Messi’s team have not been disclosed. Additionally, the sponsorship of a Bangladeshi team by a foreign entity has sparked debate amidst the financial crisis faced by the national football team of Bangladesh.
Historic Six-Point Day being observed today
Today, Bangladesh solemnly observes the historic Six-Point Day, which holds significant importance in the nation’s struggle for autonomy.
Back in 1966, the Bengalis of the then East Pakistan rallied behind Awami League’s call for a day-long shutdown, demanding specific rights and freedoms. The prominent leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had presented these demands several months prior, aiming to challenge the oppressive rule of the then Pakistani government and their mistreatment of the Bengali population.
In response to Awami League’s call, the people of East Pakistan passionately joined the Six-Point Movement and wholeheartedly participated in a province-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal (shutdown). Unfortunately, the law enforcement authorities resorted to violence, firing upon demonstrators in Dhaka and Narayanganj. Tragically, at least 10 lives were lost as a result of these brutal actions, further fueling the intensity of the movement.
The Six-Point Movement focused on six crucial demands, with the aim of establishing a federal structure of government in alignment with the spirit of the Lahore Resolution of 1940. One of the key demands was the formation of a parliament elected through universal adult franchise, granting genuine representation to the people. Additionally, it advocated for the central government’s jurisdiction to be limited to defense and foreign affairs, while entrusting all other matters to the federating units of the state of Pakistan.
The movement also proposed the adoption of two freely convertible currencies or the establishment of two separate reserve banks for the two regions of Pakistan. This suggestion aimed to address economic disparities and ensure financial stability for both wings of the nation. Furthermore, it emphasized the decentralization of power, calling for the federating units to possess the authority for taxation and revenue collection. Lastly, the movement advocated for separate foreign exchange reserves for East and West Pakistan, safeguarding the economic interests of both regions.
By commemorating the Six-Point Day, Bangladesh pays tribute to the indomitable spirit of its people who fought valiantly for autonomy, ultimately paving the way for the birth of an independent nation.
Air Pollution in Dhaka Ranks as the 4th Worst Globally This Morning
Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, experienced a concerning level of air pollution this morning, as indicated by an air quality index (AQI) score of 139 recorded at 9:10 am on June 6, 2023.
This ranking placed Dhaka as the 4th city with the most polluted air globally. Topping the list were Johannesburg in South Africa, Doha in Qatar, and Jakarta in Indonesia, with AQI scores of 166, 153, and 152, respectively.
When the AQI value falls between 101 and 150, the air quality is deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” If it ranges from 151 to 200, it is classified as “unhealthy.” A reading between 201 and 300 indicates “very unhealthy” conditions, while a value exceeding 301 is considered “hazardous,” posing severe health risks to residents.
In Bangladesh, the AQI calculation incorporates five criteria pollutants, including particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone. Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues, and it consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide.
The elevated air pollution levels in Dhaka serve as a reminder of the urgent need to address this persistent problem. Efforts to mitigate pollution and improve air quality are crucial to safeguarding the health and well-being of the city’s residents.
Bangladesh Rakes in $4.85 Billion from May Exports
Bangladesh’s May exports reached $4.85 billion (51 thousand 895 crore taka), marking a significant increase of 26.61 percent compared to the previous year.
This positive growth comes as welcome news amidst concerns over foreign exchange reserves. In April, there was a decline in exports by 16.5 percent to $3.96 billion, raising worries about the export sector. However, May witnessed a substantial increase of $890 million in exports, as reported by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The EPB’s data revealed that during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year 2022-23 (July-May), Bangladesh exported goods worth $50.52 billion, showing a growth rate of 7.11 percent compared to the same period in the previous financial year when exports amounted to $47.17 billion. The export growth can be attributed to sectors such as leather and leather products, non-leather footwear, plastic products, and ready-made garments.
Although ready-made garments remained the leading export item, with exports worth $42.63 billion during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, other sectors experienced growth as well. Leather and leather products, the second highest export item, saw a substantial growth rate of 42 percent, amounting to $1.12 billion. Home textile products ranked third with exports worth $1.02 billion, despite experiencing a decline of 30 percent.
However, certain sectors faced challenges, as exports of jute and jute products, home textiles, frozen food, agro-processed food, and engineering products declined during this period. Overall, the positive growth in exports during May contributes significantly to Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves and offers optimism for the country’s economic outlook.
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