Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed have said that the government cannot compensate those who lost their investment with Jubok, a multilevel marketing (MLM) company that was shut for fraudulent business practices.
After an inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday on Jubok’s fraudulent activities and subsequent shutdown of the company, both the senior ministers told reporters that the government cannot do anything more in this issue.
The government had intervened and assured appropriate measures against the company after it embezzled Tk 25 billion that sparked widespread protests among the investors.
Some 300,000 investors across the country put in almost all their savings in the MLM company that promised a lucrative return of their investment but failed.
A central bank investigation in 2006 found Jubo Karmasangsthan Society, better known as Jubok, was involved in illegal banking practices. It was shut down the same year.
The finance ministry then formed a committee, headed by former Bangladesh bank governor Mohammed Farashuddin, to look into the irregularities.
Later, a commission was also formed to make proposals on Jubok and how to repay the investors and clients it cheated.
The commission recommended selling off Jubok’s assets to pay back the investors and also suggested forming a permanent commission to keep a check on such irregularities in future.
But the Jubok victims have not seen an end to their miseries.
Finance Minister Muhith said, “Jubok’s victims have hundreds of complaints. Investing in such a fraudulent company is nothing new. It’s been going on for years. People take the same road again and again even after getting cheated.”
“Even those who were victimised by Jubok have lost interests in the issue. There is not even a single case filed, what can we do here, nothing,” Muhit said.
“We feel their pain and we want to help. But those responsible for this have completely vanished. So many people invested in this (company), they could go to court and file cases. But nothing was done.”
The commerce minister said, “The investors should have been more careful about the company. They got cheated because they wanted more profits by investing in a company without looking into its financial health and management.”
When asked, would it be possible to repay the victims by selling Jubok’s assets and properties, Tofail Ahmed said, “Jubok has 98 acres of land scattered throughout the country. The company made initial deposits for some of the lands while some are unregistered. It’s a mess.”
He said the matter was handed over to his ministry from the finance ministry.
“We sent a summary to the prime minister. The prime minister asked me to discuss the matter with the finance minister. We did that today and will inform the prime minister about this.”
Muhith said they would decide on the next step on this issue after talking to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina soon.