Islami Bank’s vice-chairman Syed Ahsanul Alam has disclosed certain classified information which he was bound to keep confidential when he took oath as vice chairman of Islami Bank, said Islami Bank chairman Arastoo Khan.
Arastoo Khan was addressing an urgent press conference at the Islami Bank headquarters on Thursday. He said only the chairman will address the press from now on.
In a Facebook status on 11 May, AhsanulAlam said the members of the board of directors are involved in a ‘plus-minus’ conspiracy. “It has become almost impossible for me to run my duties at a situation like that. It is only a matter of time for me to resign from this post,” he said. After the meeting of board of directors of the bank, the independent director told some media outlets a decision was taken that the fund for zakat, a total of Tk 4.5 billion, would be deposited to prime minister’s zakat fund. Another fund for iftar, Tk 130million, will be distributed via the social welfare ministry. Additionally, a list of beneficiaries of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will have to be submitted to the home ministry.
After this, those decisions were criticised by various quarters. Arastoo Khan said, "After his (AhsanulAlam) press conference I received a call from the prime minister's office. The prime minister talked to me for 40 minutes. She asked me, ‘What happened to you? I didn't ask for zakat money from you. Who asked you to give it?’ The prime minister is not happy about the matter. I said no such decision was taken. He does not even know how much money there is in the zakat fund. He does not know which one is the zakat fund and which one is profit money.”
Arastoo Khan said, “A list of beneficiaries of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will have to be submitted to the home Ministry, but we haven't decided on that, that was not even in the discussion. Why would we send any list to the home ministry? He said it was decided to investigate who are getting scholarship money which totals Tk 190 million, but we did not take any decision of that sort. He also said a fund for iftar, Tk 130 million, will be distributed via the social welfare ministry, which is also not true. We are a private bank, we have many branches, and we will distribute the money through them.”
The chairman also said one has to follow certain conditions while signing the papers to become a director. According to those conditions, no one can disclose any classified information. But Syed Ahsanul Alam did so. “We will take a decision about him in the next meeting of board of directors."
An amount of Tk 3.47 billion has been deposited in the zakat fund, of which Tk 1.73 billion has been distributed. Tk 280 million has been kept aside for tax. “We had profited Tk 4.50 billion last year, which he confused as zakat money," said Arastoo Khan.
Arastoo Khan said, "Syed Ahsanul Alam told the board of directors he has been asked to resign, to sign a blank sheet. We protested against that, condemned it, and informed the central bank. He arranged a press conference after going home. That is really unfortunate."
Chittagong University professor AhsanulAlam joined Islami Bank as an independent director on 6 May 2016. But on 5 January the chairman, vice chairman and managing director resigned. AhsanulAlam became the new vice chairman. He was running the bank in the changed circumstances, which put him at odds with the other directors and authorities. He could not be reached over phone. It was learnt that he is not in Bangladesh.
This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Sitesh Kumar Saha.