It may sound like the story of Alibaba and 40 thieves, but it is bone-chilling fact! A crime racket comprising employees of Bangladeshi bKash [Brac Cash] money transfer service, a sister concern of Brac Bank chaired by Sir Fazle Hassan Abed are robbing off hundreds and thousands of innocent customers and stealing millions of Taka every month. The matter though hit headline stories in the Bangladeshi media; it seems that the management of the Brac Bank and or bKash is totally reluctant in taking any stern action against the perpetrators of such notoriety. It is further learnt that this racket is directly connected with local Islamist terrorist groups and are handing over the stolen amount to such groups for buying weapons and explosives as well as maintaining armed jihadists. It may be mentioned here that, Brac Bank is a project of Brac –the largest NGO in the world. It is a matter of grave concern that such an organization with international repute are housing notorious people connected to terrorist outfits.
On August 20, 2018, at 04:54 pm a local journalist deposited an amount of Taka ten thousand through a bKash agent [bKash agent mobile phone number 01841727266]. On August 21, 2018, at 12:59 am, that customer received a call from a number 01846492749 from an agent of bKash asking if he has been overpaid. At 1:02 am he received another call from the same number asked the same question while the customer gave a negative answer. Then at 1:31 am another call came from +16247 informing an engineer of bKash service called and informed the customer that his account has been suspended and an engineer will call in a while. At 1:36 am, 1:41 am, 1:51 am, 2:05 am and 2:06 am from a mobile number 01867050821. During these calls, the bKash engineer asked the customer to check his bKash balance while the engineer on call. As on good the customer checked the account he finally realized that he has already been robbed off and the entire amount of deposit has been stolen.
Following this incident, that customer brought this matter to the attention of bKash authorities. But there had been no action as there was eid vacation on August 22, 2018. On August 23, 2018, at 8:02 pm, the customer received a phone call from 01867050821 and on the other end the man introducing himself as an IT engineer of bKash apologized for the delay in refunding the money and he promised to deposit the amount into the account of the customers in a minute. The matter of bKash IT engineer’s confession and the promise of returning the stolen amount was immediately communicated to the bKash authorities via email [email address: firstname.lastname@example.org]. At 9:53 pm, he received an email from the bKash authorities asking details of the occurrence. As there had been no response either from the IT engineer or bKash authorities, the customer called 01867050821 number and the same person received the call and asked if he has lodged a complaint with the authorities of bKash. He also promised to deposit the money. But since filling of this report, neither the money was returned nor there was a word from the bKash authorities.
Hundreds and thousands of expatriate Bangladeshis are using services
It may be mentioned here that, thousands of transactions take place every day via bKash services. As the amount of transaction is huge, some of the insiders of bKash has become active in criminals activities and are robbing off bKash customers thus handing over the stolen amount to homegrown jihadist groups for the above-mentioned purposes.
According to statistics, these rackets are stealing more than one billion Taka from the bKash account, each month. This matter is no secret to the top brasses of bKash or Brac Bank or even the management of Brac NGO. But, for reason unknown, they are not taking any steps in either nabbing the culprits of providing better security to the customers.
It may be mentioned here that since the end of 2016, Bangladesh authorities have made biometric registration compulsory for each of the mobile phone users. Mobile SIM cards are only provided or kept active after the biometric registration. Due to this procedure, telecommunication ministry officials had repeatedly claimed to have succeeded in stopping any crime racket or jihadist in committing crime through unregistered SIM cards. Currently, there are over 40 millions mobile phone users in Bangladesh. There are five mobile phone operators in Bangladesh. Prior to the introduction of the biometric registration process, hundreds and thousands of unregistered SIM cards were used in committing various types of crime in Bangladesh.
Hundreds and thousands of Bangladeshis living abroad are using bKash services for sending money to their home. Recipients of such foreign currency are falling prey of the in-house crime rackets of bKash on a regular basis.
The most disturbing part of the entire matter is the connection of bKash with Brac’s founder Sir Fazle Hassan Abed, a British citizen and family friend of Indian actor Shabana Azmi and her husband. Despite his global repute, Sir Abed is surprisingly sitting tight in checking the issue of fraud and terrorist connections right inside his own company named bKash. It is anticipated that jihadist cohort bKash officials may ultimately find ways in going to other countries through Brac or Brac Bank, thus posing a grave threat of terrorist offensives. For the sake of national, regional and global securities, Bangladeshi intelligence agencies should begin an investigation in this matter and destroy the entire network of culprits and jihadist cohorts.