Some 132 companies came under scanner of the anti-graft watchdog over allegations of customs-duty evasion and the siphoning of money worth Tk 4.16 billion, officials said.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) took up five of the firms in the first go for a probe into alleged window-dressing of their financial accounts for the misdealing.
Financial statements, records, reports of a National Board of Revenue (NBR) taskforce on capital flight and duty evasion are under scrutiny by the ACC sleuths.
The ACC recently sought two investigation reports of the NBR taskforce placed on July 7 and October 10, 2016 to launch the probe.
In a recent letter to the NBR chairman, the ACC sought the information along with audit reports of five of the firms, including readymade packaging and accessories companies.
It has also sought audit reports or investigation reports of fiscal year 2015-16 and 2016-17 of those five companies.
The companies are K Morium Garments Limited, Savar, Dhaka, Lazim Poly and Accessories Ltd, Ashulia, Dhaka, Mahmud Apparel Ltd, and Marvelous Fashion Ltd, both located at Hemayetpur, Savar, Dhaka, and Mars Packaging Industries, Matuail, Dhaka.
The ACC has formed a five-member investigation committee to scrutinize the allegations.
The committee will have to submit report after analyzing the records, audit reports and financial statements provided by the NBR.
Talking to the FE, ACC Deputy Director Abdul Mazed, who sent the letter, said they were yet to get all required documents from the NBR.
He, however, wouldn't give details of their investigations and nature of business of those 132 companies.
Managing Director of K Morium Garments Ltd Md Monir Hossain explained the company position on the pecuniary matter. He said there were some allegations regarding repatriation of export proceeds and audit reports that had been resolved.
He said three consignments of raw materials got stuck in ports, causing delay in shipments.
Mr Hossain said banks received the export proceeds and informed the government departments concerned.
"We attended a hearing in the customs bond commissionerate on June 26, 2021 on this issue," he added.
A former official of Lazim Poly and Accessories Ltd, preferring anonymity, said there were some allegations related to the availing of bonded- warehouse facility.
He said the company has huge liability with Islami Bank Ltd and probably turned sick by now.
NBR officials said the allegations on those companies are mostly relating to abuse of duty-free facility under customs bonded-warehouse scheme.
They would extend "all cooperation to the ACC in conducting the investigations".
The FE correspondent could not reach the representatives of three other companies for their comments despite several attempts.
Earlier, there was a tussle between the NBR and the ACC over exchange of taxpayers' data, considered confidential as per tax laws.
According to the ACC Rules 2019, amended on June 20, 2019, the anti-graft watchdog investigators or inquiry officers are empowered to seize, search and examine bankers' books and tax files of corruption suspects or ask the authorities concerned to provide the ACC with copies of their confidential information.
ACC's previous rules of 2007 had empowered the constitutional body to take action against the Bangladesh Bank and the NBR for their failure in furnishing the ACC with the confidential information sought.