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Fin min wants action against Jubok

Nazmul Ahsan

The finance ministry has asked law, commerce and home ministries for taking action against Jubo Karmasangsthan Society, an errant conglomerate infamous for its fraudulent operations and cheating millions, in line with the recommendations of a government-sponsored commission.
Separate directives have been sent last week for immediate measures by the ministries concerned so that cheated clients of Jubok get back their investments in different schemes of the company and the culprits are brought to books, a senior finance official told New Age.
Before instructing three ministries, finance ministry officials held a meeting in late December among them with finance minister AMA Muhith in the chair. Muhith gave go-ahead to pursue the ministries to implement a string of measures recommended by the commission to the finance ministry, sources said.
Appointing an administrator for Jubok, bringing amendments to the criminal law, money laundering act and the inquiry act 1956 are some of the recommendations to be dealt by the three ministries as per the jurisdictions of business of allocations for government ministries are concerned, it is learnt.
The permanent commission on Jubok, headed by former bureaucrat Rafiqul Islam gave its report to finance ministry in March last year. The ministry, however, took no initiatives before making the latest instructions last week, it was alleged.
Aiming to return the money, the government formed two commissions, one in 2010 and the other in 2011, headed by former governor of Bangladesh Bank Mohammad Farashuddin and former joint secretary Rafiqul Islam.
The assets of Jubok, as per the commission report, were found in Dhaka and adjoining areas worth nearly Tk 3,000 crore.
Business licenses of the 17 subsidiaries of Jubok, a multilevel marketing company, should be cancelled by the relevant government authority, said the commission report.
Jubok’s operations were suspended in 2006 on charges of involvement in illegal banking. Its subsidiaries include interests in housing, telecommunication, real estate development, tourism, health and agriculture.
More than 3 lakh clients of Jubok have been waiting for years now to get back the money they deposited with the fraudster, mainly because of government’s indecision.
None of the affected ones, who were lured by Jubok into depositing their hard earned money for big returns, are yet to get back their money, amounting about Tk 2,588 crore.
The Rafiqul Islam-led commission suggested that the government should appoint an administrator who would take Jubok’s assets into his custody, sell those and return the money to the customers.
It also said until an administrator could be appointed the relevant deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers (UNO) might act as the custodian of the assets.
The commission also identified 40 people who embezzled customers’ money, and recommended filing cases against them.
Asked about appointing administrator, a senior commerce ministry official said they were examining the existing rules and regulations before going for appointing the recommended administrator.
‘The issue is sensitive. We have to go very carefully,’ the trade official told New Age.
Jubok was registered in 1997 under The Societies Registration Act, 1860. It collected huge deposits by luring people with the promise of high interest.

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