Banks under scanner for aiding casino equipment import

A roulette in a casino Rapid Action Battalion busted at Dhaka. PHOTO BANGLA TRIBUNE Sazzad Hossain Though the country’s constitution bans gambling, a large quantity of casino equipment was imported through four banks. It’s believed that in opening Letters of Credit (LC’s) for importing items, the banks did not follow standard regulations.

Bangladesh Bank has unearthed the information after going through LC related files. Four companies were involved in importing casino materials Pushpita Enterprise, A 3 Trade Enterprise, Ninad Trade and M Islam and Sons. Several other agencies imported casino materials making false declarations. Bangladesh Bank officials say that when opening LCs, the bank officials were not alert.

The banks may be asked to explain the irregularities. Most importers mentioned sports items in their declarations and the casino products were brought from China. The items were released from Kamlapur dry dock, Chattogram and Benapole Customs Houses. On Sept 28, The National Board of Revenue (NBR) gave an order to customs authority to suspend the import of casino materials.

The investigation is also underway to find out agencies which were involved in importing gambling materials since 2009. NBR chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said “An order has been given to stop the import of all casino items; the investigation is underway against agencies and people who imported casino equipment under false declaration.”

THE Import policy of Bangladesh clearly states that items which hurt religious sentiments cannot be brought into the country. After the recent anti-casino drive, customs department confiscated gambling equipment from Dhaka, Narayanganj and Munshiganj.