Published:  06:49 PM, 19 May 2017

Islami Bank conflict peaks

Islami Bank conflict peaks

The fight between two top board members of Islami Bank Bangladesh, known as the financial backbone of Jamaat-e-Islami, has been flung out into the public.

The government recently appointed them in wanting to establish its control over the country’s largest private bank. But their dispute threatens to strengthen the Jamaat supporters’ clout and halt the government's unofficial endeavour in its tracks.

The row first came under media glare after Syed Ahsanul Alam Parvez, a vice chairman at the bank, wrote a Facebook post on May 11.

Two days later, the head of the bank's human resource division, Mahboob Alam, was transferred.

Parvez said the board of directors had also decided to transfer the heads of public relations and corporate social responsibility divisions, give Tk 4.5 billion Zakat money to the prime minister's fund, and distribute Tk 130 million Iftar money through the social welfare ministry this year.

The bank denied Parvez's claims on the decisions in a statement after four days, on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Chairman Arastoo Khan appeared before the media.

He said the vice chairman's claim about the decision to give Tk 4.5 billion Zakat money to the prime minister's fund was 'actually not true'.

"There is in fact only Tk 270 million in the Islami Bank's Zakat fund," he claimed.

"I was called to the Prime Minister's Office after media had carried reports on the matter. I had a nearly 40-minute conversation with the prime minister about this," said former additional secretary.

Arastoo also brushed aside as 'baseless' Parvez's claim that the control of Islami Bank was returning to anti-liberation forces.

The chairman accused Parvez of breaching oath by speaking to the media about the bank's internal matters.

Arastoo was made chairman and Parvez vice chairman in a major shake-up in January. Md Abdul Hamid Miah was given the managing director's post.

According to Parvez, the new leadership took a raft of decisions to free the bank from the influence of anti-liberation forces, but those were not fully adhered to.

He told that he was threatened with death and asked to resign. He alleged that it was part of a conspiracy to re-establish Jamaat's control in the bank.

The former Chittagong University professor was then taken to a board meeting under tight security on May 13.

He is now blaming MD Miah for the denial of the decisions taken in the meeting.

Accompanied by Miah, Arastoo told the press conference: "The allegation brought by the vice chairman in his Facebook status that the Islami Bank's control has returned to anti-liberation forces is baseless. His allegation that he is being threatened and asked to resign is also baseless." 

"Ahsanul Alam Parvez can step down if he wants to. There is no pressure from the bank on him to stay on or leave," he added.  

Later, Parvez told that he could not attend Thursday's meeting because the bank authorities did not arrange security for him.

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