Though millions of customers of different e-commerce companies have been deceived and suffered big financial losses, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank (BB) could not give any detailed information to the High Court about the money transactions of those entities except for the Evaly Limited.
The matter has been clarified from a report of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit submitted to the court on Thursday.
During the hearing on the report on Thursday, the concerned lawyers also raised questions about the matter. They demanded a detailed report for all the e-commerce companies.
Barrister Pallob Kabir M Humaun who appeared in the court hearing said the High Court asked the BFIU to submit detailed information of all the e-commerce companies, but they failed to comply with the court order.
Senior Advocate Shamim Khaled Ahmed who submitted the BFIU report in the court said it was an incomplete report and they will submit further details on the next hearing date.
In the report submitted to the court, the BFIU said it was collecting information on the accounts of 49 other e-commerce companies, except for Evaly.
“No account has been found in the names of five organisations so far. The accounts of the remaining 44 institutions are under review by the BFIU. Money transaction of the accounts of 13 e-commerce platforms out of these 49 companies has been suspended by the BFIU under Section 23 (1) (c) of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012. And the accounts of three other e-commerce entities have been frozen by the court orders.”
“It is pertinent to mention that in the light of the demand of the Ministry of Commerce on November 8 in 2021, the BFIU has sent them a summary of the money transactions of the 50 e-commerce companies including the Evaly Limited by sending a brief summary and also informed about the transaction suspension of the accounts of the companies.”
After receiving the reports, the HC asked the BFIU to submit a complete report on the other e-commerce entities, said the lawyer.
Md Ikramul Hasan, a Joint Director of Bangladesh Financial Intelligent Unit, sent the report to the High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman complying with its earlier order.
Following three separate writ petitions, the HC bench on September 28 wanted to know from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) whether it has any policy to collect vat and tax from the e-commerce entities in the country.
It also wanted to know from Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) as to what steps they have been taken already over the alleged money laundering by the e-commerce platforms.
The court also wanted to know about the action plans and updated steps of the 16-member 'technical committee' that was formed to create a congenial environment for the scandal-hit digital commerce sector.
The respondents, NBR, Bangladesh Bank and the Commerce Ministry, were asked to comply with the court query by November 8 this year. Complying with the court queries the organizations have sent separate reports to the court.
The court, however, adjourned the hearing till February 28 in 2022.
Lawyers Mohammad Shishir Manir and Pallob Kabir M Humaun appeared in the court on behalf of the writ petitioners, while Shamim Khaled Ahmed appeared for the BFIU, Tapas Kanti Baul for the commerce ministry and deputy attorney general Bepul Bagmar for the state.