8 months ago

Impostors and impersonators rule the roost

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The news is that an additional deputy commissioner of the police invites a 'deputy director' at the national telecommunication monitoring centre for a tete-a-tete over a cup of tea because a visiting card bearing the latter's name was brought by a service-seeker to the former. On his arrival, however, the police officer's suspicion proved right and the real identity of the deputy director was exposed. Named M Rafiqul Haque Mian, he was in fact an impostor. No wonder, charged with impersonation, he was arrested then and there. His impersonation was, however, not limited to the high official position at telecommunication monitoring centre, he had the temerity to introduce himself as a senior assistant secretary, although he was employed with a private organisation. The officer-in-charge (OC) of Mirpur Model Police Station confirms that Rafiq is adept in impersonation.

Rafiq's is not a unique case; rather at times one gets the feeling that there are impostors and impersonators galore in this country. Spurious medicines, fake doctors, dacoits and muggers in the guise of members of law enforcement agencies or law enforces' involvement in mugging or abduction for ransom, counterfeit currency notes, multi-level marketing companies, unlicensed diagnostic centres, clinic and hospital, fraudsters using crafty tactics to show their access to corridor of power for swindling money---the list seems to be endless.

Bank looters like PK Halder, Seikh Abdul Hye Bacchu of Basic Bank financial scam and Mamun Ur Rashid of Standard Bank jailed in an embezzlement case are big fish. Their counterparts in the multi-level business and e-commerce like Destiny, Jubok, Unipay2u, Evaly and e-Orange have swindled thousands of unsuspecting people of their hard earned money to the tune of billions of taka. Most of the money so swindled was also laundered. The majority of their poor clients were left financially broke.  

Well, the top bosses of such companies were sentenced to jail of different terms but the clients did not receive their money back. At least, the high profile fraudsters in such cases were brought to book but there are even more powerful players who have taken loans and siphoned most of those off to foreign lands. This is why the banking and financial sectors' bad loans and non-performing loans (NPLs) now have accumulated to trillions of taka, leading to liquidity crisis. Their names are not made public. While the country starves of greenback, money laundering is still going on, financial analysts suspect. If the powerful but dishonest coterie's act of laundering money could be resisted at the outset, they could not have bled the country's economic vein white. The total defaulted loan is reported to be more than the loan the country is receiving from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).   

There seems to be a competition for making easy buck. Fraudster Shahed Karim of Regent Hospital-infamy is just a pigmy representative. The more privileged high-profile actors knew what they would do with the loans they received. But this is public money and not all banks are in a position to recover from its adverse impacts. 

When people at high level can get away with such devious acts, it is only natural that cheating, bribery and malpractices of every description permeates all layers of society. Traders feel no compunction for hiking prices for no reason, a section of them adulterate and use unapproved reagents or ingredients for preparation of foods. Even gel-pushed shrimps are shipped to European countries only to be returned back. While the importing countries make a  point-of-origin phytosanitary certificate mandatory for entry of vegetables and fruits to their land, people here are resigned to consume chemical-treated vegetables and fruits or marketed before the time lapse after application of insecticides. Similarly, hormone-pushed fish, fowl and cattle alongside milk containing led, chromium, cadmium and manganese have severely compromised food safety of the nation.

The manufacture of spurious drugs including injections shows the height of human degradation. But should a country that had to sacrifice millions of lives and women's honour for its liberation settle for such an ignominy where avarice, intrigues, fraudulence, deception and cheating get the better of integrity of character, patriotism, values and human quality? The answer to this question decides the nation's course of journey.   


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