CPD seeks hearing on Bangladesh Bank hacking

Dhaka – Distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya on Sunday suggested the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry to arrange an open hearing over the Bangladesh Bank’s fund heist.

“Philippines’ parliament held an open hearing (over the issue). Where’s our parliamentary standing committee on finance? Why didn’t the committee convene a meeting? Why our parliament didn’t get any chance to discuss it when the Philippines’ parliament is discussing the Bangladesh issue?” he said addressing a press briefing in the city.

The CPD, a civil society think tank, arranged the briefing at Cirdap auditorium for putting forward its recommendations for the upcoming (2016-’17) national budget.

Dr Debapriya said there is lack of coordination in the financial management of Bangladesh. “The institutional framework is not effective right now, which was exposed through remarks of the Finance Minister and behaviours of the central bank (after the scam)… a confusing situation is now prevailing in the leadership of the financial sector,” he said.

People first came to know about the issue from foreign newspapers, public hearings of the Philippines Federal Reserve of the USA, the Swift of Switzerland, and Sri Lankan bank, Debapriya said.

“I don’t know whether the issue has been discussed in our cabinet. If anyone knows, please inform me,” he said.

About the impact of the US$101 million fund heist from the Bangladesh Bank, he said this amount of money would not create any chaos in the country’s economy as Hallmark and Bismilla Group each has taken away the larger amount.

He, however, said the concern is not about the size, but about the safety and sustainability of the financial sector as the heist exposed how technology-based risks Bangladesh is facing.

On February 4, hackers stole US$101 million from the Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman and its Additional Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem also spoke at the function, while its research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan placed the recommendations for the upcoming national budget.